July 19, 2019
Expert View:

Bringing Sustainability & Profitability to Pelagic

In the wake of several landmark deals in the pelagic sector, Skaginn 3X Head of Product Development Axel F. Gislason explains why constant innovation is needed to deliver the big gains in sustainability and traceability pelagic is demanding. 

Greening the Pelagic Sector 

With the ambitious aim to maintain the health and sustainability of Pelagic fisheries, Europe’s Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA) has partnered with the environmental organization Greenpeace to tackle the need of minimizing bycatch as well as increasing transparency and traceability.

Skaginn 3X channels its development efforts into responding to these movements in the industry. “We are keeping a close eye on trends in the pelagic sector and shifts in demand from our customers and consumers, “ says Axel F. Gislason, head of product development for Skaginn 3X. “We are also keenly aware that innovation and sustainable practices will make it easier for our customers to tap into funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to modernize.”

Axel F. Gislason, Head of Product Development for Skaginn 3X

The Resources to Modernize

The European Commission (EC) has committed €7 billion via the EMFF for the period 2021-2027 in a move towards more sustainable fishing practices and innovation, with considerable funds earmarked for upgrading and modernizing Europe’s fishing fleet. The intention is not to catch more fish but to establish a fleet of proficient vessels that are safer for the crew and optimize the quality and value of the catch.

“Our partnership with France Pelagique, which is part of the Dutch Cornelis Vrolijk Group, reflects these goals and our solutions match the current trends and demands in the sector,” Gislason says.

A New Generation of Vessels on the Horizon

France Pelagique has contracted Havyard Ship Technology to design and build a new trawler that will bring state-of-the-art technology to its pelagic fishing efforts, as SeafoodSource reported. Skaginn 3X is set to outfit the new trawler, slated for delivery by the end of the year, with its proprietary technology for grading, packing, freezing and palletizing the vessel’s catch.

“One of the main benefits is that the new vessel will be fitted with our Automatic Contact Freezer, instead of the traditional vertical freezers. This improves greatly on space utilization and the working environment for the crew. It also introduces considerable energy savings as our freezer uses considerably less energy than conventional blast freezers in a quarter of the freezing time,” Gislason says.

“Our unique packing technology, which packs the product in plastic bags, not only delivers gentler handing and better quality, it also offers full traceability from catch to consumer since each bag is time-stamped with a GPS-linked barcode, allowing for full transparency,” he adds.

The Future of Fishing

But efforts are not just about efficiency. Sustainability is also an important aspect of this innovation. “Consumers are becoming more selective when it comes to their food and this is especially true when to comes to European consumers. They want to know where their food comes from and whether it is sustainably sourced,” Gislason continues. “We in the industry must meet those demands and preferably stay ahead of the curve – this applies to both fisheries firms and processing technology providers.”

Gíslason’s views mirror that of France Pelagique managing director Antoine Dhellemmes, who says, “With this new ship, we strengthen our ambition to fish with an eye to the future: maintaining healthy fish stocks, minimizing environmental impact,” as he was quoted saying in a SeafoodSource article announcing the contract to build the new vessel.

As a leader in onboard and onshore pelagic processing, Skaginn 3X has provided the technology for the world’s largest pelagic plant for the Faroese firm Vardin, a fully-automated system is in operation Pelagos’ plant (also in the Faroe Islands) and Eskja’s 700-square-meter plant in Iceland is powered by Skaginn 3X solutions, now producing 900 tons of pelagic products per day. The current project with France Pelagique is expected to close before the end of 2019.

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