One of a fleet of trawlers built to fish for cod on the Grand Banks, Grande Hermine is now heading for the South Atlantic to fish for its new owners in Uruguay.
Grande Hermine was ordered by Comapêche – now Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo – to join its then existing fleet of Captain Pleven, Joseph Roty and Victor Pleven, of which Joseph Roty is still in operation as a specialised factory vessel producing surimi from blue whiting.
Grande Hermine, with its unusual layout that placed a full-length trawl deck on the starboard side and superstructure to port, was delivered by the Ateliers & Chantiers de la Manche yard in 1985 and spent a few years filleting and freezing cod on the Grand Banks, working trips of several months at a time, before the fishery was brought to a close in 1993 with the end of fishery agreements between France and Canada.
More than 4000 people lined the quays at Saint-Malo when Grande Hermine returned to port from its final trip on Newfoundland fishing grounds.
Since then it has operated in Greenlandic and Norwegian waters, before being taken out of service with the arrival of new factory trawler Emeraude in 2018, operated jointly by Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo and Euronor, which fishes on French quotas in Svalbard and Norwegian waters.
After 33 years of service for Compagnie des Pêches Saint-Malo, Grande Hermine has been acquired by new owners in Montevideo, and has been undergoing refit work in Saint-Malo to prepare it for its new role in the South Atlantic, before leaving Saint-Malo for the last time later this week.