Efficient new chillers for Helga María
HB Grandi’s fresher trawler Helga María sailed from Reykjavík last night after a brief layover between trips and according to skipper Eiríkur Ragnarsson, they had docked on Wednesday morning after a trip to Westfjords grounds. The catch was 170 tonnes of fish, which he felt was a good trip in the light of the difficult weather conditions they have had to cope with for the last few weeks.
‘We’re normally fishing for four or five days in each trip. With the weather as difficult as it has been, we are grateful for a day or two of reasonable weather in each trip to give us an opportunity to fish.’
Helga María was refitted at a Polish yard to operate as a fresher trawler last year and started fishing in its new role earlier this year, and Eiríkur Ragnarsson said the results have been excellent. They are happy with the equipment and the fish handling system, although there are still a few details that require some fine tuning.
‘What has been particularly successful is the bleeding and cooling systems. Once the fish has been bled, it goes into a bleeding tank for fifteen minutes and then into a revolving screw drum. In there we have slurry ice mixed in with the fish and the system is computer controlled. The time needed to chill the fish depends on the sizes of fish as they are cooled to between -0.50° and +0.50°,’ he said, commenting that fish caught in summer can be at a temperature of as high as 12° and it is vital to immediately chill fish destined for production ashore as fast as possible.
Eiríkur Ragnarsson said that in the last trips they tried towing a pair of Thyborøn pelagic trawl doors to spread their bottom trawl and the results have been promising.
‘I’m satisfied with the results, and very pleased to be free of the weights or chain clumps that many trawlers use with these doors. We’re using a pair of doors rigged so that they never hit the sea bed,’ Eiríkur Ragnarsson said.