The old Western Chieftain has been renamed Oddeyrin EA and has been modified to catch, conserve and transport live groundfish for Samherji

The old Western Chieftain has been renamed Oddeyrin EA and has been modified to catch, conserve and transport live fish for Samherji

Construction of and installation of new equipment is currently underway in the vessel Oddeyrin EA, reports Icelandic company Samherji hf.

The new modifications will allow the boat to start experimenting with bringing live groundfish ashore for processing. This particular technology and method have not been used on trawlers before and this make Samherji one of the first companies in the world to try it out.

To most of The Fishing Daily readers, Oddeyrin is better known as the old Western Chieftain. The 45-metre-long pelagic vessel has been acquired by Samherji who has converted the whole vessel for groundfish fishing with the option of pumping fish on board and store it alive in specially equipped tanks.

Onboard, this method offers:

  • Fish goes into equipped tanks where it is kept alive. This makes it possible to process it later on board or bring the fish ashore alive.
  • Fish is bled/gutted and placed in tanks with refrigerated seawater (RSW) for short term storage.
  • Fish is bled/gutted in traditional fish tubs stored in cold storage on board.

The method involves catching fish in a traditional bottom trawl, but instead of taking the bag on deck and pour from it, which puts a lot of pressure and stress on the fish, the bag is moved to the side of the vessel, and then the catch is pumped on board with a vacuum pump system. This method handles the catch much better and is well known in the salmon farming industry for the transfer of live fish.

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 The time between slaughter and processing shortened:

Samherji are convinced that there are many opportunities for progress in using this method. The time between slaughtering the fish to land processing could be shortened from 3-5 days down to 0-12 hours. Security of supply for land processing is also significantly increased. Storing the fish in cages can compensate for short-term fluctuations when shortages occur due to bad weathers or fluctuations in catch.

The possibilities of entering new markets with fresh fish will also increase due to the longer shelf life of the product and a more stable supply. Samherji’s says their staff have studied this methodology and have put considerable effort into familiarising themselves with various research projects related to this.

old western chieftain oddeyrin

Significant changes made to the vessel

The vessel Oddeyrin EA is undergoing significant changes at Kartensen Shipyard in Denmark to make the vessel ready to bring live groundfish ashore. The ship was lengthened by 10 meters, and a traditional processing deck and fish hold were installed. The original cooling tanks in the ship were kept but were modified to store live fish.

A new deckhouse, which will house sorting facilities, has been set up and work is underway to install catch sorting equipment after fish has been pumped on board. Also, fishfinding and other equipment on the bridge will be upgraded to better suit groundfish fishing.

Samherji recently signed an agreement with Slippurinn Akureyri Ltd. that involves the supply and installation of processing equipment in the Oddeyrin vessel, most notably a new type of washing system and bleeding bins for the catch that will be slaughtered on board. A liquid ice machine from KAPP will also be installed, which will be used both to cool catch during processing and in fish hold. With this equipment and technology, emphasis is placed on the bleeding and cooling of the catch slaughtered on board. However, the aim is that the vast majority of the catch will go live in tanks and be delivered live ashore.

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Old Western Chieftain modified to catch, conserve and transport live fish ashore

by editor time to read: 8 min