Oddeyrin EA-210

Oddeyrin EA-210

Live fish catcher for Samherji

Iceland’s first live fish catcher has already attracted plenty of interest, both in Iceland and elsewhere during its conversion from a classic pelagic trawler.

Originally Western Chieftain, it has been through a substantial rebuild at the Karstensens yard in Skagen, adding ten metres to its length and making space for a fishroom and catch handling area, as well as space for sorting catches as they are pumped on board from the trawl.

The intention is that Oddeyrin has facilities on board to store selected live fish in the original six RSW tanks, converted to live fish tanks, as well as to keep catches boxed in ice in the new fishroom.

Oddeyrin on the slipway at the Karstensen yard in Skagen. Image: Karstensens Skibsværft

‘It’s a complex ship, and here we can do things that aren’t possible on other fishing vessels,’ said Samherji’s project manager Hjörvar Kristjánsson.

‘We can carry out conventional fishing, but the innovation is the setup to pump fish on board and keep it alive. The tanks can also be used to store chilled fish, if they aren’t stored live.’

The hull sliced in two forward of the wheelhouse for the ten metre extension to be added. Image: Karstensens Skibsværft

Now that Oddeyrin has docked in Iceland following the refit in Skagen, the Slippurinn yard in Akureyri takes over to install the catch handling system that brings together both new and conventional elements. These include a new design washing system and large-scale bleeding wells that the yard has developed. The wells extend from the working deck down to the tank tops, generating space for the water volume needed to achieve better catch quality.

Keeping catches alive provides production with even fresher raw material, according to project manager Heiðdís Smáradóttir. Image: Samherji

The installation also includes a Kapp slurry ice system for both pre-chilling catches and in the fishroom, for the proportion of catches expected to be stored in ice – while the intention is that as large a proportion as possible of catches should be landed live.

‘A key part of all this is ensuring that there is always raw material available for production ashore, and to be able to provide this even fresher,’ said Heiðdís Smáradóttir, project manager and quality manager at Samherji fiskeldi, commenting that fish landed live by Oddeyrin should reach production an hour or two after slaughter, instead of the usual three to five days.

‘Shore-based production has access to a much more secure supply. Holding fish live either on board or in cages means that short-term fluctuations in supply are ironed out. This also makes it possible to seek out new markets for fresh fish products due to the the longer product shelf-life.’

Skipper Hjörtur Valsson is confident. Image: Samherji

She commented that so far the company isn’t in a position to store live fish in cages, but there are options for this to be done.

‘In Norway fishermen transfer the fish to cages, but this vessel takes things a stage further. Samherji places a great deal of emphasis in freshness, and that’s certainly what we are doing with this vessel.’

Skipper Hjörtur Valsson brought Oddeyrin home from Skagen and is optimistic about the possibilities this innovative vessel offers.

‘I’m convinced this is going to work well and it’s been great to work on this project with some results-motivated people,’ he said.

‘We did a couple of short test trips in Denmark, mainly to check that all the systems work as they should. There’s always a certain excitement when something new comes up, and I’ve been hearing quite a bit of debate, which tells you there’s real interest in this innovation.’