Four of the officers running a trawler in the Arabian Sea got in touch with fishing gear supplier Hampiðjan to help out in solving the problem of a by-catch of large fish during their routine fisheries for small pelagics.
The Polish-built factory trawler Gloria one of three vessels operated by Omani fishing company Al Wusta Fisheries Industries. Gloria’s skippers are Ásgeir Gíslason and Hafsteinn Stefánsson.
In the last few weeks its gear has been rigged with a specially designed selection device designed to separate out large fish, which Ásgeir Gíslason reports works perfectly.
The 95 metre, 16 metre breadth Gloria was previously fishing for horse mackerel in West African waters off Morocco and Mauretania, but is now fishing for mackerel and horse mackerel in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman.
Pelagic trawl gear is used for this fishery and in these waters any by-catches of larger fish such as moonfish can cause problems. A solution was reached when Hampiðjan’s master netmaker Vernharður Hafliðason was approached to design and prepare a special large fish separation device at the request of deck boss Haukur Ingi Jónsson. This selection grid has successfully separated out large fish species.
‘Credit should be given where it’s due. The grid fits the net drum and it works perfectly. We couldn’t ask for more than that,’ Ásgeir Gíslason said, commenting that by-catches have generally been moonfish.
Regular catches of mackerel and horse mackerel are handled on much the same lines as in Atlantic fisheries. The fish are pumped on board from the codend at the stern and routed to the factory deck for processing. This ensures that top freshness and quality are maintained. The selectivity device routes large fish alive from the fishing gear, back to the marine environment.
In his report to the operating company, skipper Ásgeir Gíslason gave the large fish selector full marks for effectively solving all of the by-catch problems.