Fishing Gear: Catapulted to Higher Levels

Fishing Gear: Catapulted to Higher Levels pp 48-49

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Fishing Gear: Catapulted to Higher Levels pp 48-49Vónin introduces new netting materials to reduce hassle and raise efficiency for trawlers — meanwhile making a leap in mackerel and herring gear as a result of pressure from booming pelagic fisheries off the Faroe Islands.

As disputes between the Faroe Islands and the EU over mackerel and herring have forced the Faroese to concentrate their fishing efforts within their own territorial waters, gear maker Vónin has introduced new trawl models that place the company among the top providers of pelagic fishing gear.

Developed especially for the Faroe Islands mackerel and herring fisheries, a series of new Vónin Pelagic models have significantly strengthened the company’s position in the marketplace.

From already having a foothold in pelagic fishing albeit largely limited to trawl nets for blue whiting and horse mackerel alongside purse seine nets for other species, Vónin is now a leading manufacturer of pelagic trawls for catching mackerel and herring.

Said Jógvan S. Jacobsen, head of Vónin Pelagic sales: “International trade disputes have in effect created a huge mackerel and herring fishery within Faroese waters by barring the Faroese from fish anywhere else; because of this, we’ve had to come up with a new generation of pelagic trawls.”

According to Mr. Jacobsen, most of the Faroese vessels involved in the fishery now use the new trawl models. As it turns out, the schools of mackerel and herring found in Faroese waters have a different density and altitude compared to elsewhere.

“Purse seining will work fine on herring and mackerel off the coast of Norway,” Mr. Jacobsen said, “whereas here you need a special midwater trawl that can be spread wide and towed over a long distance.”

Smooth operations: Meanwhile Capto, a new type of netting material for the foremost part of pelagic trawls, manufactured exclusively for Vónin, is being introduced. It consists of 12-strand nylon rope (a.k.a. Super 12), with polyethylene coating, which stiffens and strengthens the net to avoid tangling on various objects during operations — a well know problem among those who use pelagic trawls — especially when launching.

A number of Faroese, Danish, Norwegian and Russian vessels have opted for Capto and their feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive,” according to Vónin.

Working with pelagic fishing gear can be a hassle at times inasmuch as such trawls are often very large, especially the forepart which can extend over several kilometers with mesh sizes of up to 50 meters at the fore end.

“We’ve developed Capto in close liaison with skippers and experienced fishermen and have it manufactured in Portugal,” Mr. Jacobsen added. “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response — because this coating makes the net much stiffer, the gear becomes much easier and quicker to handle, especially before shooting. You don’t want your operations disrupted because of your trawl net getting stuck too easily on the working deck. With Capto, that problem is gone.”

In a separate joint venture with the Portuguese, Vónin has likewise launched an anti-tangling solution for bottom trawls made of Dyneema netting.

“Dyneema nets are of high strength but tend to be soft,” said marketing manager Bogi Nón. “Our new product is an option especially aimed at bottom trawls but also available for pelagic trawls. In essence it involves Dyneema netting with special sticks in the meshes to make the trawl stiffer and less likely to get tangled.”

More functional, hassle-free thin netting means larger trawl nets can be used — making increased catch more likely.