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Commercial Fishing



Vónin’s new Flyer takes off! The device which is rigged to a trawl’s headline to generate lift, has been delivering positive results for fishing vessels, according to Óli Horn at the company’s demersal fishing gear division.

The Flyer has been through a long development process and one of the challenges was to find the correct material that was strong but without being too rigid. The problem was solved and Flyers have been in regular use since the beginning of this year.

The Flyer is rigged to a trawl’s headline to produce lift, and the faster the towing speed, the more lift is produced.

“One Flyer is 80cm, so it takes up the same space as four floats,” says Óli Horn.  “For towing at 3.5 knots, then each Flyer generates 85kg of lift, so at that towing speed, it’s equivalent to around thirty normal floats.”

The Flyer has really come into its own on Greenlandic trawler Tuugaalik, which has been fishing deep water for Greenland Halibut. This fishery calls for the headline to be tightly packed with floats, however four Flyers on the headline have replaced the additional floats that would normally have been rigged to the headline of the new trawl which had been ordered for the black halibut season.

Russian trawler Aquamarine has also been regularly using Flyers on its 630 Balacao trawl, fishing in the Barents Sea for cod and other groundfish.

Horn said: “The trawlmaster told us that they use two or three Flyers, and they have come up with their own way of rigging these, with an additional float each side to make sure that the Flyer squares away properly without snagging under the headline – and this has never been a problem.”

The Norwegian vessels Atlantic Viking and Granit both also have Flyers on board, with the former having its trawl’s headline rigged with around 1200kg of buoyancy, using a variety of float sizes.

“They were able to take off 200kg of buoyancy and replaced this with two Flyers, so that’s 30 to 35 floats per Flyer,” stated Horn. “The skippers tell us that these work well in the spring when they are fishing for cod, and in some areas the fish are tight on the ground to begin with, but once a couple of trawlers have been fishing for a while, the cod lift off the bottom and swim higher in the water.”

The result is that for the trawlers with a standard headline height, the fish rise too high for them to be able to catch them easily.

“Adding a couple of Flyers to the headline gives them an extra two metres of headline height, so they can fish for an extra day there while the ones with the lower headline height only get one good day’s fishing. It’s also good for haddock, as these often swim high off the bottom and can be difficult to catch, but the Flyers give you some extra headline height that helps reach the haddock,” added Horn.

So far, one trawler in Canada has been using Flyers to lift its shrimp trawls, and this is reported to work well, despite the reduced lift generated by the low towing speed.

“This is something that we need to do more tests on,” Horn said. “But interest in the Flyers is certainly growing.”