The most modern fishing vessel in the New England groundfish fleet is back in port after its successful first few trips.
Nobska was acquired earlier this year by Blue Harvest Fisheries, as part of the company’s investment in the future of its groundfish operations, and has completed four back-to-back trips during April and May to land 152 tonnes of monkfish, flounder, haddock, Acadian redfish, hake, and pollock in its home port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, with additional landings in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
This latest addition to the BlueHarvest fleet is expected to work a routine of three to four trips in succession, followed by a short maintenance and rest break for the crew.
Nobska is skippered by Aldie Leeman, and with the same crew as before the Blue Harvest Fisheries acquisition.
‘We’re very pleased with the performance of the Nobska on its maiden voyage, and are excited to see its future potential,’ said Chip Wilson, CEO of Blue Harvest Fisheries.
‘We are confident in the future of the groundfish fishery, and vessels like the Nobska are an important part of that future.’
Blue Harvest Fisheries acquired the Nobska in February from Maine, where it previously operated as the Francis Dawn. Built in 2019, it that replaces an older Blue Harvest Fisheries vessel of the same name.
‘This is the first step in implementing our long-term investment strategy for groundfish,’ Chip Wilson said.
‘With these investments Blue Harvest Fisheries will be able to consistently offer high-quality groundfish, like those just landed by the Nobska.’
Blue Harvest is also making plans to bring in a sixth groundfish vessel, Schelvis. With a registered length of 26 metres, Schelvis was purchased as part of the company’s 2020 acquisition of 12 vessels and 27 fishing permits from the Carlos Rafael family. The vessel, which never fished under the Rafael family ownership, will make its first Blue Harvest Fisheries trip upon completion of a $1.9 million upgrade.
Schelvis will be run by Luke deWildt, who has 25 years of industry experience, including 18 years as skipper of Teresa Marie III for 18 years, the last four under Blue Harvest Fisheries ownership.
He said that he is ‘looking forward to the utilizing the upgrades on this newly renovated vessel,’ which represents the newest class of vessels in the fishery. It will be safer for his crew, and with the latest equipment and electronics, and he expects the Schelvis to be among the top performing vessels in the fishery.