Seattle-based company Blue North has christened F/V Blue North, a state-of-the-art vessel designed to transform the fishing industry by improving conditions for workers, reducing environmental impact and harvesting seafood more humanely.
Designed with sustainability in mind, the new longliner is geared specifically for the Alaskan cod fishery, built by Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. of Anacortes, Wash. from a design (ST-155L) by Norwegian firm Skipsteknisk AS. The result, according to Blue North: “the most modern, low-impact and innovative vessel to ever enter the North Pacific fishing fleet.”
The new fish harvesting vessel, christened September 9 at the Port of Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal, features a number of novel technologies that aim minimize environmental impact and improve the quality of harvested seafood as well as working conditions for fishermen.
“This boat represents the future of the fishing industry with its technological advances and its safety features,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner, John Creighton. “It sends an unmistakable message that this industry is here to stay, and in fact has a bright future.”
“Blue North is dedicated to sustainable practices, and we spared no expense when it comes to the features we included on the F/V Blue North that reduce environmental impact,” said Kenny Downs, president and CEO at Blue North.
On board all water and waste is captured and treated, leaving nothing behind to contaminate the ocean. The vessel’s engine-cooling and heat recovery system recycles water used to cool its engines, and repurposes the captured heat for creating potable water, creating hot water and heating the ship. These features mean less fuel is required to heat the vessel and no waste water is put back in the ocean. Engine power is monitored by a smart grid that detects electrical loads and appropriately distributes energy for maximum efficiency. Blue North is equipped with a diesel electric twin propeller dual-azimuth propulsion system and will be one of the first fishing vessels in the U.S. to meet new Tier III emissions standards.
“Not only are these practices more cost-effective, we believe that protecting our resources and environment is critical to the planet and the fishing industry,” Downs said.
In order to improve working conditions for the crew, all fishing gear is inside and hauled through an interior moon pool – another first for the U.S. – so the fishermen are no longer exposed to unpredictable weather and associated risks of fishing in the Bering Sea
. This also helps extend the time of fishing operations under severe weather conditions and gives high maneuverability and station keeping capabilities, according to the designer. Additionally, the shipbuilder said the vessel has been built with a heavily weighted box keel design to keep weight low, and an antiroll tank to provide a more stable working platform.
Further improving crew conditions, elevator and conveyer systems reduce the work of loading and unloading ship supplies and seafood products, while auto freezers eliminate the manual loading and unloading freezer trays.
Deluxe staterooms are a mixture of private and double rooms, with a private lavatory in each. Workers sharing staterooms are scheduled for different shifts, so that each can rest privately in the room when off duty.
“As veterans of the industry we recognize that fishing is often grueling and dangerous work,” said Blue North Chairman Michael Burns. “We've done everything we can to make the F/V Blue North a safer and more pleasant environment for our hardworking crews.”
The F/V Blue North also includes an innovative system designed to ensure more humane harvesting of seafood. A hook-and-line fishing system ensures one fish is handled at a time, and fish on the lines are pulled into the moon pool at the center of the boat. Fish are only out of water for a few seconds before being stunned, processed and frozen on board. Hooks are removed after stunning to reduce stress to the fish.
“Stunning creates a better-tasting, more nutritious and better-quality product,” Down explained. “Research has shown that reducing stress before processing produces higher quality and healthier food for consumers, and we believe it's also a more humane way to treat the fish.”
Blue North claims a long history of sustainable practices. The company's primary product, wild Alaska line
-caught cod, comes from the first commercial cod fishery to be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council; this cod is designated a "Best Choice" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. In addition, Blue North is a producer partner of FishWise, a supplier member of FishChoice, and a business collaborator with Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.
Length overall: 58.35 meters
Length between p.p.: 52.5 meters
Beam molded: 12.8 meters
Depth to main deck: 5.7/5.82 meters
Depth to shelter deck: 8.4 meters
Depth to forecastle deck: 11 meters
Cruising speed: 12 knots
Berths: 26 crew + hospital