After years of careful design, model trials, actual construction and then fishing trails at sea, Swan Net Gunrdry’s Fast Flow brailer has gone from just one or two boats ‘trying it out’ to more than thirty Irish, Scottish and Shetland pelagic vessels using this gear.
The Fast Flow brailer has been a real breakthrough, providing a gear setup that minimises damage and maximises quality – and therefore prices.
In straightforward terms, it sounds an easy concept. SNG’s Fast Flow brailer has the capacity to hold almost double the volume of fish for length, reducing brailer length by around a quarter from 80 to 60 metres, and giving a massive increase in volume. This gives the fish a larger area to move around in while the trawl is towed.
One skipper reported that during a 300-tonne tow, most of the fish were as high up in the gear as the splitter and most went into the tanks alive after being hauled from 70 fathoms.
A key benefit, for mackerel fishing in particular, is that the fish remain in top condition as they are pumped on board after not having been subject to pressure or stress during the tow.
Fillets from catches taken with the Fast Flow brailer show practically zero blood spot – a problem that had previously resulted in pelagic fish being unsuitable for international markets, as the sight of a spot of blood leads consumers to see the fish as being below standard.
While the Fast Flow technology doesn’t increase catches, it has already been shown to increase the return for fish landed as buyers continue to make it clear that top quality is what brings in top returns.
‘We place great emphasis on innovation and, in a case such as the Fast Flow brailer, improving the water flow, removing large steel rings at the splitter and widening the brailer have combined to now give fishermen a better quality of fish and in turn a better price for their catches,’ said SNG trawl designer Cathal Boyle, adding that good news travels fast and there have been enquiries from the wider international pelagic sector for the new brailer design.
In the case of the Fast Flow brailer, SNG weren’t content to just produce this new concept but brought it out in combination with a new bag handling system, with the traditional steel rings at the splitter replaced with DynIce-strengthened loops. Significantly lighter than steel rings, this development has also reduced wear and tear that had previously been a problem due to the abrasion of the rings against the netting.