Ísnet in Húsavík has been extremely busy in the past few years in the manufacture of shrimp trawls according to Kári Páll Jónasson, master net-maker. Ísfell operates six net making workshops in Iceland under the brand name Ísnet and they are located in Hafnarfjörður, Vestmannaeyjar, Þorlákshöfn, Sauðárkrókur, Húsavík and Akureyri. Kári has been involved in the development and manufacture of shrimp trawls since 1987 and he has experienced considerable changes in shrimp fishing over the years.
There used to be 60 – 70 Icelandic vessels involved in shrimp fishing, both in Icelandic waters and in the Flemish Cap area near Newfoundland. Later, however there was only one vessel fishing shrimp year-round here in Iceland whilst at present, there is no Icelandic vessel fishing for shrimp in the Flemish Cap.
Development and design of shrimp trawls
Despite these enormous changes to the size of the Icelandic shrimp trawler fleet in recent years, there have nevertheless been considerable changes to Ísnet’s shrimp trawls. These developments are the result of the extensive experience gained in the past and the availability of new software that has been useful in designing and drawing work. Kári says that by using the software, designers have been able to incorporate tow resistances to increase fishing capabilities and through-flow which again leads to fuel savings. Kári says that there have also been considerable advances in the materials used in the fishing gear, mentioning new materials from Garware, one of Ísfells main suppliers of trawler nets. “The nets from Garware are called Sapphire and came on the market a few years ago. The Sapphire net is a compact net which makes it possible for us to use thinner nets in the trawls, making them easier to tow in comparison to the traditional trawl-nets. In addition, we have developed various changes in the trawls in consultation with skippers here in Iceland and our overseas partners”, says Kári.
The number of Icelandic shrimp trawlers is rising again
After several years of declining shrimp fishing, conditions are looking up and there has been a lot to do in the rigging up of shrimp trawls. The trawls are for the most part rigged in Húsavík and Akureyri, with some involvement of the net making workshop in Hafnarfjörður. Kári says that there is increasing interest in shrimp fishing here in Iceland as shrimp is not included in current quotas and prices for shrimp products are rising. There were 15 vessels fishing for shrimp in Icelandic waters last summer and the results from these fishing and processing operations appear to have changed for the better, according to Kári.
Exports of shrimp trawls
Since the recent Icelandic Fisheries Exhibition last October (2012), it is safe to say that there has been plenty of work at Ísnet’s workshops in the rigging of nets. During the winter, the net making workshops have rigged numerous trawls that have been sold to overseas operators. “We have sold trawls to Canada, Greenland and to vessels fishing in the Bering Sea as well as vessels operating in Icelandic waters. The trawls that we have manufactured for export have all been large and intended for extremely powerful ships. It is therefore, a distinct pleasure for us at Ísnet that foreign companies see an advantage in buying fishing gear from us that we have developed over the past few years”. Trawl doors from Morgére in France are sold with the trawls and Ísnet has for a number of years had an excellent relationship with the company with many Icelandic trawlers using the doors with great success. “One could say that in recent years, the number of trawlers exclusively using fishing gear from Ísnet has increased a great deal. Vessels commonly use Bridon tow-lines, Morgére doors and bottom or pelagic trawls from Ísnet. For vessel operators, there are significant advantages in being able to obtain all main fishing gear for trawlers from a single supplier, as offered by Ísnet”, says Kári in closing.
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