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740 Bacalao bottom trawls hit the spot

Norwegian trawler Atlantic Viking, which sails from Ålesund, has seen some notable successes with its Bacalao bottom trawls from Vónin, and has gone from using more or less standard 630 trawls to having a pair of 740 trawls on board as well.
Norwegian trawler Atlantic Viking

According to Vónin’s Óli Horn, the process began during a flume tank session in Hirtshals last year where a scale model of a trawl developed for new Norwegian factory trawler Granit was being put through its paces. This was the Bacalao 740, an extended version of the 630 trawl that has been the standard workhorse for many trawlers across the North Atlantic region for many years.

‘Granit’s skippers were looking for a larger trawl, so we developed the Bacalao 740 with a 36 metre fishing line for them, and a lot of other skippers showed interest in this,’ he said. ‘This included Atlantic Viking’s skipper Karl Otto Riisbak and his two mates who were very interested, ordered their new trawl in January and got it a few weeks later in time to start on saithe in the North Sea.’

The extra headline height achieved with this trawl compared to the 630 trawl made a real difference, and a second trawl was ordered. Made mainly in Vónin’s Fortis netting, Atlantic Viking’s Bacalao trawls have the sections most likely to suffer damage, the lower wings and the first belly panel, made in easily replaced standard PE netting.

Successful across a variety of fisheries

 ‘They were shifting fishing grounds from the North Sea and called at Tórshavn on the way to pick up their second 740 trawl on the way to Greenland to fish for Greenland halibut and redfish,’ he said. ‘In the halibut fishery there’s a requirement to pick the gear clean of any stickers between hauls, so they used both sets of trawls, two 630 trawls going one way and then the two 740 trawls going back, with a noticeably larger amount of fish caught in the pair of larger trawls.’

From Greenland halibut grounds, Atlantic Viking shifted to redfish, using just one of the 740 trawls on hard ground, and also caught its modest cod quota using the same gear.

‘They were also able to catch the redfish quota for another trawler in Greenland, so we can say that this trawl has done very well. It has been used for saithe, cod, redfish and Greenland halibut – and with no damage other than the usual wear and tear that needs routine maintenance.’

Fishing when others could not

‘On saithe in particular the extra headline height made a difference. The trawl tows well and is easily placed where the skipper wants it, but they also found that when there are a lot of trawlers on the same grounds, the fish tend to lift off the bottom. So that extra headline lift meant they could keep fishing for a few days while the other trawlers had to go and look elsewhere.’

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