Article Category: Features

Trawl Technology 2023

Trawl Technology 2023

An exploration of what’s new in electronics for fishing trawler boats. Over the past year or so, companies that sell and/or manufacture technology for fishing trawlers have been actively crafting, marketing and selling goods for commercial fishing vessels. Fishermen’s News reached out to various companies to gather information about what new products have entered the market over the past 12-plus months, as well as other notable developments within businesses in the industry. Naust Marine In late July, Naust Marine—which is based in Iceland, but has a U.S. location in Poulsbo, Wash.—announced production of its new umbilical winch for marine electrical engineering and installation services company MJR Power and Automation. The winch is to be used on the deck of a supply vessel owned b...
Shipyards of the  Pacific Northwest

Shipyards of the Pacific Northwest

The region’s shipyards stay busy with work and expansion ambitions. Through good times or bad, the shipyards of the Pacific Northwest service the commercial fishing fleet. By no means a comprehensive account, herein is some regional scuttlebutt from a few of the notable yards. Everett Ship Repair/Nichols Brothers Everett Ship Repair (ESR) is a rising star of the Puget Sound shipyard scene. The yard opened at the Everett, Wash. working waterfront in 2019 and is owned by Ice Cap Holdings. Ice Cap also owns Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, a legacy boatbuilder based out of nearby Freeland, Wash. on Whidbey Island. “I’m a naval architect by training,” Ice Cap CEO Gavin Higgins said. “Graduated when Christ was a cowboy and came over here from England and started working for (a) shipbuilder...
Navigation Technology 2023

Navigation Technology 2023

The march of technological innovation continues, and the maritime navigation space is no exception. From reckoning with newer artificial intelligence and augmented reality capabilities to more traditional evolutions of larger multifunction displays and more accurate compasses, the modern commercial fisherman might think he’s reading a science fiction novel while thumbing through a product catalogue. Fishermen’s News spoke with a number of notable leaders in the maritime navigation technology industry to keep abreast of notable innovations and products on their radars—pun intended. The challenge for all parties: navigating the boundless imaginations and profit-seeking motives to find the tools mariners actually need to safely go to sea for a living. Furuno USA Furuno USA is a Camas, W...
Marine Aquaculture:  Is it the Future of Seafood

Marine Aquaculture: Is it the Future of Seafood

While the concept of marine aquaculture – the nurturing and harvesting of aquatic plants and animals – has been around for decades in the U.S., the practice has been gaining more traction in recent years. Factors such as climate change and the growing consumer demand for seafood have been driving the conversation about whether aquaculture could be a viable alternative to the wild-caught seafood industry. Interest for seafood has been growing, especially among those with resources and consumers who are health and environmentally conscious. “As people become more affluent around the world, there’s more capacity to pay for that seafood, and what I’ve seen recently is a large (segment) of the environmental community … have come to recognize this as well,” said Neil Anthony Sims, a marine ...
Propulsion 2023: Advances in Options

Propulsion 2023: Advances in Options

Advances in propulsion options for commercial fishing vessels continue to grow as the industry adapts to changing technologies and new fuel options. Customers are looking for options that are fully customized to their needs, while meeting regulations and reducing emissions. Some of the most well-known manufacturers continue to blaze the trail of innovation. They include: Wärtsilä Wärtsilä offers a complete propulsion line, including engine, gearbox and controllable pitch propellers. The configuration and scope are tailored and defined based on the vessel needs and operating profile. Wärtsilä’s Controllable Pitch (WCP) propeller system is a fully customized combination of a hub, propeller blades, shafting, hydraulics and a control system, as well as further accessories needed to meet c...
NOMAR Offers One-Stop Shopping,  from Fishing Gear to Maritime Clothing

NOMAR Offers One-Stop Shopping, from Fishing Gear to Maritime Clothing

On a winter’s day in 1982, a couple of fishermen walked into Kate Mitchell’s canvas and upholstery shop in Homer with a problem: their net brailers were marking their catch, so many of their fish were downgraded by processors. They asked Mitchell if she would build a bag that would work to quickly offload the catch, but not mark the fish. “They had a problem, and I had a sewing machine,” recalls Mitchell, founder of NOMAR, the now well-known marine company with an 18,000-square-foot manufacturing and retail store facility in Homer, Alaska, with and customers nationwide. Seafood harvesters in Bristol Bay and False Pass were delivering their salmon harvests in seine web bags and fish pressed against the web were getting marked, making them of lower value to processors. So, Mitchell got ...
Refrigeration 2023

Refrigeration 2023

Last year saw some significant additions for Integrated Marine Systems (IMS), based in Mukilteo, Wash. The big change? New hires in the engineering department, with the father-and-son duo of Tom and Vince Giacalone coming on board. “They’re working on RSW (refrigerated sea water) system design, sales engineering, quality control and updating BOMs (bills of material), manuals, and schematics,” Operations Director Kurt Ness told Fishermen’s News. “Vince is also spearheading a new product that will come to market in later (in) 2023; a revamped and modernized touchscreen RSW controller which will be fully customizable for specific applications and industries. The new controllers will also be able to replace old controllers and integrate with existing shipboard HMIs (human-machine interfaces) ...
Bristol Bay Fishery Report:  Sockeye Salmon Still Strong After Record 2022; Togiak Herring Fishery Canceled in 2023

Bristol Bay Fishery Report: Sockeye Salmon Still Strong After Record 2022; Togiak Herring Fishery Canceled in 2023

While one commercial fishery in the Bristol Bay and Bering Sea area is coming off a record-breaking year, another didn’t even open this year due to lack of interest. As the largest sockeye salmon producing region in Alaska, Bristol Bay exceeded historic benchmarks with record-breaking inshore numbers reported in 2022. Following the hefty stock last year, the total run for 2023 is predicted to be smaller, but still strong. The outlook for the Togiak herring fishery is also robust, but the purchasing market is floundering. Fish processors indicated earlier this year that they did not intend to harvest herring in Togiak in 2023, so there will be no commercial fishery this spring, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG). This is the first time in several decades that To...
Maybe Someday? A 319-Foot,  Made-for-USA Trawler Concept

Maybe Someday? A 319-Foot, Made-for-USA Trawler Concept

As I walked among exhibitors at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle last winter, a 319-foot design rendering of a factory trawler at the Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) display caught my eye. Advertised as the ideal addition to the pollock fleet in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, the vessel concept was specifically meant to maximize ease of construction and affordability for U.S. shipyards. I later caught up with Jim Towers, EBDG‘s chief concept engineer, who designed the build, to get the inside scoop. Towers has been in the naval-architect-and-design industry for nearly 50 years and has worked with EBDG for around 16 years. According to Towers, the 319-foot factory-trawler design was put together some years back for a potential client. “It was basically an AFA (American Fisheries ...
Some Skippers Sticking with  Fiberglass on Bristol Bay

Some Skippers Sticking with Fiberglass on Bristol Bay

Last year’s record-breaking catch on Bristol Bay resulted in plenty of orders for new boats, with skippers predictably searching for the latest ideas to boost speed, capacity or efficiency. This demand for highly customized designs is great news for the Pacific Northwest aluminum boat builders that can quickly adapt a hull to accept any type and sizes of engine, outdrive, waterjet, and the latest trend, the movable reel. So the latest flood of orders barely caused a ripple in the handful of remaining fiberglass shops, whose entire business model centers on one or two 32-foot molds that produce identical fairly narrow hulls with a single engine.  This makes a fiberglass hull very much a “take it or leave it” proposition unless a builder was prepared to re-tool the whole operation with ...