This is the future – steerable trawl doors in action

This is the future – steerable trawl doors in action

The Poseidon trawl doors that have been a long-term development project for Polar Trawl Doors have finally had the opportunity to show what they are capable of on a pelagic vessel fishing for blue whiting south-east of the Faroes.

‘I’ve been waiting for these since 2013,’ said Polar Amaroq’s skipper Geir Zoëga as the trip in poor weather and with patchy fishing was coming to an end.

‘But I’m really impressed with what these doors can do. This is the future and these are easily the best steerable trawl door so the market today.’

He commented that it hasn’t been a completely easy ride with the Poseidon doors, as there are still a few problems that need to be fixed, but they will be staying on board Polar Amaroq when it sails for its next trip.

‘These offer endless possibilities. We can adjust the wings to reduce or increase the square when towing against or with the current. They can be angled up or down as required, so this offers possibilities for towing both on the bottom and just below the surface,’ he said.

‘It’s very exciting to see this development reach this stage, and we can see it working. We can see the wings altering the flow of water through the doors and making them work exactly as they should do. It makes the doors much easier to manage, especially as we can lift one door to come about and turn more quickly.’

The doors tested on board Polar Amaroq are the first full-scale trials for Poseidon trawl doors – although a successful trials was also carried out some years ago with smaller doors on groundfish trawler Vestmannaey. For these latest trials a 14 square metre pair of Poseidon doors were produced.

The Poseidon doors are built with wings in the upper and lower sections of each door, and these can be adjusted remotely, closing the gaps between the wings to increase the squaring power of the doors, or opening the gaps to reduce it. The upper and lower sections can be adjusted independently, providing the capacity to generate downwards or upwards forces to drop or lift the doors as required.

‘Each wing can be controlled independently, so that makes it possible to control the trawl’s position in the water, vertically and horizontally. So closing up the upper wings to reduce the flow through the top section increases the pressure on the lower section, which lifts the door,’ explained Polar Trawl Doors’ Atli Jósafatsson.

He added that it has been a long process since the ideas behind these steerable doors first began to take shape, and the process has brought together a number of different technologies as trawl doors have gone from being essentially passive devices to active components of a set of fishing gear.

‘This is a huge step in a long development process towards a new generation of trawl doors that can be controlled remotely from a trawler’s wheelhouse,’ Atli Jósafatsson said.

‘The doors work well and have performed as expected. There have been a few glitches and these still need to be fixed, but there are no major hurdles to overcome even though we still have a little way to go. What has been a huge support is that skipper Geir Zoëga, Síldarvinnslan hf and Polar Pelagic AS have had an unshakeable faith in these doors and have been waiting for an opportunity to try them out, plus Rannís has has also supported the development. This kind of step isn’t taken without strong support, and that has made a real difference.’

‘This is the future. This is what trawl doors are going to be,’ Geir Zoëga added.

‘I’m very happy with these trials. The doors have performed well and we see a real difference in the door spread as we adjust them. They shoot well, they square well, and we’ll be using them again.’

Report from the January 2019 issue of Hook & Net.

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