Serving a high-tech, high-efficiency fleet

Serving a high-tech, high-efficiency fleet Scanmar Iceland’s Thórir Matthíasson at the company’s offices in Garðabær with a sensor that has been in use for almost 30 years – and still has plenty of life in it

Iceland has long been a prime market for electronics company Scanmar, with an Icelandic subsidiary managed by Thórir Matthíasson from workshops in Garðabaer.

“Scanmar is doing well, but Scanmar Iceland is only a part of the whole,” he said.

The market in Iceland has been through some major changes as much of the fleet has been renewed, alongside the  process of consolidation that has seen the fleet shrink to a smaller number of vessels.

“This is a high-tech, high-efficiency fleet now,” he said. “It has changed a lot and is still changing. Although there is still older tonnage in the fleet, there has been a huge amount of renewal, and there’s more coming, big and small, including two new pelagic vessels being built in Denmark for Samherji and Síldarvinnslan.”

Apart from Rammi’s factory trawler Sólberg, which is one of Scanmar’s longstanding customers, the renewal has been in fresher trawlers as there is an increased focus on shore-based processing.

“Change always comes in waves,” Thórir Matthíasson said. “The changes we are seeing is that skippers are demanding more and more information, and they want more precision – and that’s what Scanmar is responding to.”

He explained that Scanmar places emphasis on obtaining the most possible precision from trawl sensors, and an example of this is that Scanmar is the only manufacturer to include temperature compensation.

“The speed of sound in water is 1500m/sec at a temperature of approximately 14°C, and at lower temperatures it slows down a lot, so results are going to be different,” he explained.

“This makes a difference and this can be as much as 6-7%, and also depends on the depth. So Scanmar sensors record the changing temperature in the water column as the gear is shot away, and this information is used to generate a graph. The data received is then automatically corrected in line with a mean water temperature between the gear and the trawler, adding precision to the sensor data when it reaches the wheelhouse screens. This has been part of Scanmar sensors for quite a while now.”

He commented that the next big step in fishing gear sensor technology seems likely to be a link which would represent a massive increase in the data capacity.

“There are limits to what can be done with wireless technology, and the next revolution in this is going to be fibre optics. That opens the possibilities to see the fish in the trawl mouth, for the skipper to be able to see the species and size, and be able to take a decision on whether to catch those fish or not. Scanmar ought to be the one taking the end of that cable and making full use of it,” he said.

He commented that Scanmar has always placed the emphasis firmly on quality and reliability – and offers a five year guarantee with its sensors, although many are in use long after the guarantee has lapsed.

“We had one that came in last week that’s twenty-nine years old, and it’s fine,” he said.

“This is a codend sensor and they come back every few years for the battery to be changed. So we changed the battery and checked it out, and expect to see this one again in a few years.”

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