Norwegian technology – Danish success

Fiskevegn The Fiskevegn BFG installation on board Ann Sophie
Industry Database

Norwegian auto long-lining system designers and manufacturers Fiskevegn are continuing to expand their focus on improving operations for inshore fishermen.

The concept of longline fishing has for many years conjured up images of big fishing vessels working offshore fishing grounds, but the evolution of longline technology also takes in the development of gear and equipment for the smaller vessels that have long been at the heart of coastal fisheries across the Nordic region.

With the help of Norwegian manufacturer Fiskevegn, the inshore sector is able to replace frequently physically demanding longline methods that have traditionally incorporated plenty of manual work with the same automated systems as those used on the larger vessels.

One such vessel to benefit from Fiskevegn’s inshore automated longline system is the Norwegian flagged, Danish-based Ann Sophie which, following the installation of the BFG equipment earlier this year, has been fishing well from the Danish west coast port of Hanstholm.

Built ten years ago, Ann Sophie began life as a gillnetter in Sweden before being bought by Icelander Gestur Gunnbjörnsson in collaboration with a business partner in Norway.

The 15m Ann Sophie is powered by a 400hp Volvo and, utilising the new 20,000-hook system from Fiskevegn, focuses mainly on its 112-tonne cod quota, boosted by the regulation that also allows for 35% of cod as by-catch when targeting tusk, haddock and ling during the months of May to October.

According to Gestur Gunnbjörnsson, the Fiskevegn BFG system has brought great benefits for his inshore vessel.

“The fact that we can shoot 20,000 hooks in one shot over a distance of 25km in depths of over 100 metres during our three-day trips means that we are not only covering more fishing grounds than manual line fishing, but we are also doing it faster,” he said, adding that with very little seabed impact and hook sizes determining the size of the fish, this method is highly sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“With regards to the excellent BFG system, I would have no hesitation in recommending this operation to other inshore vessels. The biggest compliment I can pay Fiskevegn is to say that this equipment is extremely reliable and, in the time I have been operating it, not once has there been a single problem or even a minor issue that we couldn’t deal with ourselves,” he said.

As in many smaller, general-purpose vessels, the existing layout of the deck was not ideal. But with Fiskevegn’s installation team including personnel skilled in boat building and various equipment manufacturing, the owner’s permission was obtained to make some slight layout modifications.

First the deck was divided with new walls and Fiskevegn then installed a hydraulic lift-tub for fish off the line, with an integrated table for gutting, and built a defrosting lift-tub at the baiting machine, for optimal defrosting and improved work conditions during bait feeding.

“The end result was a small shelter deck boat with its own streamlined line room,” explained Fiskevegn MD Trond Inge Kvernevik, adding that the work done both on the boat itself, the longline system and additional features for catch and bait handling, is the beauty of this type of installation.

“When possible, especially on wood and GRP vessels, we can adapt the deck itself instead of trying to work around arbitrary constraints that are already built into the boat,” he said.

Longline hotspot

Located in a longline hotspot on Norway’s west coast, Fiskevegn builds on generations of expertise regarding strong and durable gear. Decades of work in close co-operation with longline fishing fleets around the world has led to the development and improvements of the lines, including the company’s well known Ocean-X swivel lines which have become one of the company’s core products. The Ocean-X 10mm line with the ToughGrip swivel system has become very popular combination since its introduction two years ago.

An increasing number of longliners in Norway, as well as on the west coast of USA, have switched from 9mm, 9.2omm and 9.50mm lines to Fiskevegn’s new and stronger 10mm ToughGrip Line with 1900 kg breaking load. A major improvement has been to almost double the pull tolerance of the ToughGrip line, to the point that it far exceeds that of the hooks and snoods. The ToughGrip Clip is also used on the larger diameter 11.50 and 12mm swivel lines, and Fiskevegn has had great success with its IW-X Lines (integrated weight) for deep sea fishing in the Southern Ocean at depths of 2000 metres or more.

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