Heavyweight net hauler added to Solent hardware range

Heavyweight hauler from Solent The SSH-06 net hauler is the largest of its kind in the Solent Engineering range and has been through six tough months of testing on a netter fishing for hake. Photo: Solent Engineering

Norway has proved to be a strong market for netting and potting deck hardware manufactured in the UK by Solent Engineering, which has a background in developing equipment for the local fleet of static gear boats fishing with nets and traps.

The company has built up a range of net and pot haulers, net stackers, blocks and other hardware for static gear fishing, and in addition to the company’s home market in the UK, the net haulers in particular have caught on among Norwegian netting boats.

“We have sold around 300 haulers to Norway, and there are times when we have been shipping five of these a week,” Solent Engineering’s Dave Middleton said. “The net stackers are getting popular there as well, and our pot haulers are catching on as crabbing becomes more popular.”

Solent Engineering has a range of net haulers, topped by the heavyweight SSH-05 which has a 750kg pull, but this is now eclipsed by an addition to the range that has been going through six months of testing at sea on a 15 metre hake netter often working deeper than 300 metres.

“The SSH-06 has four powered rollers and a phenomenal hauling power, double that of the SSH-05. It’s a real brute, and that’s what the boat’s owners wanted. They’re fishing in deep water and wanted something that would always get the gear back on board – even if it brings half a wreck back with it,” he said, adding that he new hauler needed some adjustment during its six months of hard testing.

“All the bugs have been ironed out now, and these were all minor things, such as fitting a narrower press wheel. They’re fishing for hake, which is such a delicate fish that we changed the press wheel so that it sits over only the ropes and not the netting as the gear is hauled, so the fish don’t get any damage. It’s a big hauler, and has a big top roller. So this is a departure from our usual flat layout hauler, and it can be tilted in when the boat is alongside.”

As well as the growing market in Norway for Solent Engineering’s netting gear, the company has also seen a burst of demand for its potting gear in Denmark, where crabbing around windfarm areas has been taking off.

“We’ve been supplying everything for the Danish crabbers – gunwale rollers, potting blocks, one-tonne and one and a half tonne pot haulers, plus the hydraulic systems to run them,” he said.

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