Blue North Freezer-Longliner Due for Arrival in October 2014

A new longliner set to enter Alaska’s cod hook-and-line
fishery in October 2014 will offer state-of-the-art environmental and safety
advantages, and an ultimate goal of 100 percent utilization of the versatile
fish harvested by Blue North Fisheries.
“It’s the biggest story to hit the waterfront in Seattle in
a long time,” said Kenny Down, Blue North president and chief executive
officer. “It’s really cool.”
The vessel, designed by Skipsteknisk AS, a Norwegian ship
design firm, will be built by Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Washington,
Blue North officials said May 7.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, (D-WA), heralded the announcement,
saying the new vessel would “support shipbuilding jobs in Anacortes while
adding to a strong legacy of building cutting-edge fishing vessels in
Washington State.”
The 191-foot, $30 million-plus hook-and-line vessel will be
the only freezer longliner in the Alaska fisheries with a fillet line, and
safety features that include heated indoor working space to gaff each fish
coming into the moon pool, from a line coming up through the bottom of the
“They have engineered this so that in seven meter seas with
20 foot waves, the level of water in the moon pool will only fluctuate half a
meter,” said Pat Burns, vice president of Blue North.
For crew, the internal haul station means they will no
longer be exposed to rough seas and freezing temperatures for hours on end, and
the risk of falling overboard during hauling is negated. The vessel also is
being built with a heavily weighted box keel design, to keep weight low, as
well as an anti-roll tank. These features combine to provide an extremely
stable working platform, further enhancing safety factors and crew comforts
designed into every detail of the vessel.
The internal haul station will also help reduce bycatch
mortality, Down and Burns said. According to the International Pacific Halibut
Commission the halibut bycatch mortality is 10 percent, based on a 10-year
rolling average, but Blue North’s goal is to cut that loss to 5 percent. The
hook-and-line gear itself will leave a greatly reduced environmental footprint
on the bottom of the ocean, they said.
“We typically sail with about 22 crew, so we should be able
to sail with the same amount of crew and with the automation and the factory
(on board) they will be able to work on ancillary products, so will be able to
put out more product with the same amount of people,” Burns said.
The Blue North, which will head for the Bering Sea fisheries
in October 2014, will probably do four-week trips, with the freezer cargo
capacity for about 1.5 million pounds of frozen product, including those cod
heads, which will be sold in Africa as a source of protein.