June 14, 2019

EU Pledges Billions for Sustainable Fishing

The European Commission’s pledge to commit billions of euros in new funding to support a more sustainable fishing industry provides the ideal gateway to modernize onboard processing capabilities.

Very occasionally an opportunity arises that allows us to step up a level and pursue new, loftier ambitions. Such an opening now stands before the European seafood catching sector, with the European Commission (EC) committing more than €7 billion for the fisheries and aquaculture sectors through the next round of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), reports Undercurrent.

Covering the period 2021-2027 as the financial component of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the EC says the new EMFF will continue to support the European fisheries sector in its move towards more sustainable fishing practices and innovation. The intention is not to increase fishing vessels’ capacity to catch fish, but to modernize the sector. Essentially, it wants to establish a fleet of proficient vessels that are safer and more conducive to the working needs of the crew, and which optimize the quality and value of the catch.

Not only is it expected that this will make EU fishing more viable in the long term, it’s also hoped that it will contribute to a greater level of self-sufficiency in the EU’s seafood supply. These are both stated aims of the Commission.

Embracing a New Landscape

On a fishing level, securing a slice of the allocated funding to pair up best-practice catching activities with advanced onboard processing technology is a significant opportunity for EU companies to ensure that their fisheries and products from them remain an integral part of the sustainable food landscape. Indeed, many such businesses will consider this to be the ideal gateway to dispense with the outdated processing equipment that’s on their catching vessels, and to replace it with new, more sophisticated systems that optimize efficiency, product yield, throughput and quality.

Technological advancements mean there’s no shortage of at-sea solutions ready for those looking to reach new operational heights. But if some further inspiration is still needed, EU fishing companies might consider taking a cue from neighboring Russia, which is already treading a very similar path. With the aim to establish Russia as a fishing powerhouse, considerable effort has been going into upgrading the industry through efficiency, innovation and considerable capital. Crucially, this strategy is being fueled by the state’s desire to be far more self-reliant in its food production, and to provide its people with a healthy diet.

The strong parallels with the EU’s objectives mean there are lessons to be learned from Russia’s journey, and while there was some initial stuttering, it’s reassuring to see that good progress is now being made there. A widely held view is that this is at least partly due to a subtle but crucial shift in the country’s focus. Though increased production and fleet capacity continue to remain key targets, increased emphasis has been put on the deployment of new fisheries technology and also undertaking much more processing with a larger proportion of the fleet’s seafood products, including through modern onboard systems.


Technical Advancement

To illustrate the scale of some of the state-of-the-art solutions now entering Russia’s fishing industry, earlier this year, Skaginn 3X and compatriot refrigeration systems company Frost secured a multi-million-dollar deal to supply state-of-the-art processing and chilling equipment for a new super trawler in Russia’s Collective Farm Fishery. Scheduled for delivery by the end of 2022, this will be the largest fishing vessel to join the fleet for 30 years.

On our side, we will deliver the vessel’s processing deck—fully fitted for multi-purpose processing, grading, gentle handling and fast and reliable packing, and delivering up to ten batches per minute at high speeds. The design also allows for complete elimination of vertical plate freezers, enabling greater flexibility and a complete closed refrigeration system for future demands for a safe working environment. Meanwhile, Frost will deliver the vessel’s complete cooling and freezing solution, as well as rapid seawater cooling system for the bunkers.

Another relevant advancement for at-sea operations that we’re very proud of is we have adapted our ground-breaking onshore pelagic processing techniques for onboard application. This has been achieved without compromising on automation or energy efficiency, and also without changing the maintenance requirements. Together, technologies like non-pressure horizontal freezing, comprehensive temperature regulation and precision automation have created a new standard for the sector, with a growing number of vessels landing high quality, fully palletized frozen products.

Tailored Solutions

At Skaginn 3X, we are, of course, aware that not every fishing company has a new trawler on order that needs fitting out. Alongside these state-of-the-art turnkey systems, our onboard processing expertise has led to the development of a suite of solutions at varying scales – all of which are geared towards quickly elevating the commercial competitiveness and responsible nature of at-sea operations.

So whether you’re a European fishing company that’s looking to seize on this funding opportunity to improve your bleeding and chilling processes, or to introduce new grading or fish hold robotics, or indeed install a fully-fitted deck for multi-purpose processing, grading, handling and packing, our team is on-hand to advise on how best you can reach your intended new goals.

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