Well-attended 2019 exhibition generates positive vibes and reflects continuing reinvestment in the fishing industry
With a sell-out attendance of 236 exhibitors from 22 different countries, attracting a record number of visitors on the first day, the Skipper Expo Int Aberdeen 2019 was widely acknowledged as a resounding success, reports David Linkie
Sponsored by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, the expo featured 40 first-time exhibitors and over 20 shipyards.
Scottish fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing opened the expo, before walking around the considerably bigger exhibition hall for nearly two hours, accompanied by SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong and president Ian Gatt, during which time he talked with various exhibitors and fishermen.
The cabinet secretary also sampled the wide range of fresh fish and shellfish cooked to perfection on the Scottish Seafood Tasting stand, hosted by Box Pool Solutions Ltd in liaison with chefs from the Buchan Braes and Palace hotels in Boddam and Peterhead.
The upturn in confidence and vigour that continues to be experienced in some sectors of the UK fishing industry was further underlined by the brisk level of business many exhibitors experienced throughout the largest expo to date, which in addition to a number of new exhibitors, saw some companies make a welcome return to Scotland.
An enthusiastic and upbeat mood saw a constant buzz of business activity, as fishermen from all sectors of the industry showed high levels of interest in new equipment and fishing gear for vessels ranging in size from 7m to 70m-plus.
The following selection of photographs encapsulates the constant mixture of serious business and lighter social interaction that prevailed during the expo.
International expo ‘showcases marvellous advances’
Opening the recent Skipper Expo in Aberdeen, Scottish fisheries minister Fergus Ewing said that the event was a ‘great showcase for the marvellous advances in Scotland’s fishing sector’, reports Tim Oliver.
This was especially the case with technology which ‘allows you to do things you wouldn’t have dreamed possible even 10 years ago’.
There were 236 companies at the show, not just from Scotland and the UK, but from all over the world, and the minister paid tribute to organisers Mara Media and Sharon Boyle for mounting the successful exhibition.
He said that the value of the Scottish industry’s catch had doubled in the past 10 years. Part of that was due to advances in technology to locate fish, and to allow juvenile fish to escape and avoid catching species that shouldn’t be caught because there was no quota, or the quota had been exhausted.
“Digital technology, and the use of sophisticated nets, has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past decade; things can be done now that couldn’t have been done 10 years ago,” said Fergus Ewing.
“That process will continue. Many of these companies are based in Peterhead, Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland, and this Skipper Expo showcases everything that’s best in the sector.”
The minister paid tribute to the work of Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, which sponsors the show, in fighting for the industry’s interests in his 14 years in the job. The SFF chief has announced he will be retiring in August.
The minister also paid tribute to the knowledge, expertise and negotiating skills of top Marine Scotland official Alan Gibb, who was present at the expo and ‘knows more about negotiating fishing deals than anyone in the UK’, said Fergus Ewing.
Karstensens to build new Antarctic for Killybegs
Eamon McHugh of the Antarctic Fishing Company, Killybegs, has signed a contract with Karstensens shipyard to build a 62.6m midwater trawler, reports David Linkie.
Scheduled for delivery in July 2021, the new vessel will be named Antarctic D 97, and will replace the McHugh family’s current vessel of the same name (ex Lunar Bow PD 265), which will be sold.
The new vessel will operate along the same pattern as the existing vessel, with a traditional pelagic trawl fishery, where target species are mackerel and herring.
Teresa and Eamon McHugh have headed the family business for 25 years, since starting with the first Antarctic, bought from Eamon’s brother Kevin McHugh. Sons Eamon J and Gerard are also deeply involved in the family business, with Eamon J managing the shore side and Gerard skipper of Antarctic.
Of 62.6m LOA, breadth moulded 12.8m and a depth to shelterdeck of 7.8m, the new Antarctic will be arranged for pumping pelagic fish at the stern, and feature an extensive whaleback and boat deck.
Antarctic will be based on Karstensens’ highly successful 63m hull model. Several pelagic vessels of this design, which have well-proven characteristics in relation to seakeeping and fuel consumption, fish in all parts of northern Europe, with one, Paula D 165, built for Killybegs in 2012.
The design, specification and arrangement of the new Antarctic is the result of extensive and close co-operation between the owners and Karstensens’ shipyard. The main focus has been set on optimising working efficiency, safety and comfort for the crew, together with catch-handling, storage facilities and fuel consumption. In order to reach these targets, Antarctic will feature all the newest machinery and equipment, with suppliers chosen carefully to match specifications and requirements.
SeaQuest Systems of Killybegs will manufacture the vessel’s full deck machinery package, together with cranes and fish pump.
The Killybegs-based KER Group will supply the full RSW machinery and vacuum unloading systems.
Both companies have longstanding business relationships with Eamon McHugh, although the orders will mark a first complete supply to Karstensens’ shipyard.
A third Killybegs specialist company, Barry Electronics, will supply and install the complete array of electronic equipment for the new vessel.
Antarctic’s full centreline propulsion machinery, including a MAN 9L27/38 main engine, will come from MAN ES.
Two Caterpillar main and auxiliary engines of 930 and 550kWe will also be installed.
Karstensens’ shipyard is delighted to have secured the contract for the new Antarctic, which underlines the yard’s position as the prime designer and builder of larger pelagic fishing vessels. Over the next two years, Karstensens is scheduled to deliver 11 new pelagic vessels.
Karstensens’ shipyard offers a complete concept, where all solutions are optimised and tailor-made to customers’ specifications and requirements.
Compact vessel-to-vessel gangway system launched by MMG Welding
The latest addition to the Compact Gangway System patented by MMG Welding of Killybegs, a vessel-to-vessel unit, attracted immediate interest when it was unveiled for the first time at the Aberdeen Expo, reports David Linkie.
Since starting to manufacture a vessel-to-pier gangway system last year, MMG Welding has secured a succession of orders for its innovative product. Already in use on many Irish and Norwegian pelagic vessels, the vessel-to-pier gangway delivers safety, reliability and adaptability for crews when boarding boats in harbour.
Although the evolution over the past 40 years in all aspects of fishing vessel technology has been extraordinary in terms of vessel design, catching capability, carrying capacity, hydraulics, refrigeration, electronics, etc, some things onboard have changed very little, as the ‘old reliable’ way of doing things, or a particular piece of equipment, have never been improved upon.
One such item that has remained largely unchanged during this time is the method used to board vessels while tied to the pier and, despite this not sounding like an issue of any great importance, the increasing safety requirements are beginning to see officially certified gangways becoming mandatory for all sizes of commercial craft.
Recognising the need for a safe and versatile method of accessing vessels from the quayside, MMG Welding focused on finding a solution for this problem. As part of its busy and widely varied marine welding and engineering operations, the company invested much time and effort into R&D of new gangway systems.
Built to the requirements of DNVGL-ST-0358/ISO 7061:2015, the patented Compact Gangway System was the brainchild of MMG Welding Ltd’s MD Martin McGuinness. After some innovative development, in 2018 the company launched a vessel-to-pier gangway that adjusts automatically with tide/pier levels. It features drainage-perforated tread-plate steps for maximum safety and, for easy storage purposes, a unique manual folding mechanism with collapsible handrails, making it an ideal solution for vessels with limited storage space.
The latest addition was announced at the Aberdeen Skipper Expo. This patented vessel-to-vessel gangway is the first of its kind on the market, complementing the vessel-to-pier gangway, making it a complete safety system for vessels.
Over the two-day show, the first sales agreed included to Lowrie Irvine (Antares LK 419), Donal O’Neill (Sparkling Star D 437), Martin Oglesby (Neptune SO 715), the new Killybegs midwater trawler Antarctic D 97 from Karstensens’ shipyard, and the Atlantic Dawn sisterships from Cemre shipyard in Turkey.
MMG also plans to work closely with the RNLI on providing safety solutions.
Established in 2005 by Martin McGuinness, MMG Welding Ltd offers a coded welding and marine fabrication service and, as an ISO 9001:2015 quality-accredited company, provides welding support services to various industries, including marine, offshore construction and civil engineering projects.
MMG’s highly skilled and experienced team of welding engineers are certified under Lloyds BV, DNV, MSO and TUV, and are also approved for the Corrib Gas Line. With a nationwide 24/7 service operation based in Killybegs, Co Donegal, including a purpose-built, fully equipped mobile welding workshop, neither time nor distance pose any challenge for the company.
Parkol secures two boat orders for Whitehills and Whalsay
Contracts for two new boats, to be built by Parkol Marine Engineering of Whitby for Banff and Whalsay owners, were signed on the first day of Skipper Expo Int Aberdeen, reports David Linkie.
Banff skipper John Clark put pen to paper for a 20.4m twin-rig trawler. Designed by Ian Paton of SC McAllister & Co Ltd, the fully-shelterdecked new boat, which will replace Reliance II BF 800, will have a registered length of 16.49m and 7.7m of beam.
The centreline machinery will consist of a Mitsubishi S6R2 main engine (480kW @ 1350rpm), a Reintjes 7.476:1 reduction gearbox and a four-bladed 2,500mm-diameter propeller.
Mitsubishi 6D24TC and 6D16 auxiliary engines will run the vessel’s main hydraulic and electric systems.
EK Marine of Killybegs will supply a full package of deck machinery to Reliance III.
Skipper John Clark signed the contract to build Reliance III 10 years to the day after his present boat, Reliance II, was launched at Whitby.
After ordering the new boat, John Clark said: “Reliance II turned out to be an excellent boat.
“In the past 10 years we have worked from the east and west coast, as well as spending summers out at Rockall. In this time, we have seen some poor weather, and never once have we doubted the seakeeping capabilities of Reliance II.
“Another bonus is that not once have the Parkol lads had to come back up and repair anything on the boat.
“It’s due to this that 18 months ago, I asked Ian Paton to do the impossible – design a boat that has better seakeeping capabilities than Reliance II, that has to be kept below 16.49m registered length, yet act on water like a much bigger vessel, and deliver a safe working platform for the crew when at sea.
“Reliance III will be a completely new design. A host of crew safety features will also be built into the boat, after seeking advice from Robert Greenwood and Jim Dickson from the MCA.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Parkol again on Reliance III.”
Construction of Reliance III is scheduled to start in October, for completion in the summer of 2020.
Leonard Anderson of Whalsay owners LCL Shipping, which took delivery of a similar vessel, Havilah, from Parkol in 2015, signed the contract for a 27m salmon farm fish feed carrier, to be built in Parkol’s fabrication hall on Teesside.
Of 23.95m registered length, 9.70m beam and 4.80m amidships depth moulded, LCL Shipping’s new vessel will be powered by twin Cummins KTA19-M3 engines of 447kW @ 1,800rpm. Three Cummins auxiliary engines will also be installed.
Donated Scottish seafood samples raise £1,000+ for the Fishermen’s Mission
Numerous superb tasters of fresh fish and shellfish were enjoyed by exhibitors and visitors attending the Skipper Expo Int Aberdeen, as a result of the now-customary industry bonding initiative involving local skippers, processors and chefs, promoted by Box Pool Solutions Ltd, reports David Linkie.
With freshly cooked seafood constantly available throughout the two-day expo, the volunteers served around 200kg of whitefish, including cod, haddock, hake, ling, lemon sole, megrim, monkfish and scabbard, together with some 50kg of langoustines, scallops and crab claws.
The whitefish and shellfish were donated by the skippers and crews of over 25 boats, including Aalskere K 373, Apollo INS 179, Aquarius FR 95, Atlantic Challenge PD 197, Avrella LK 174, Boy Andrew WK 170, Boy John INS 110, Budding Rose PD 418, Caledonia III BCK 35, Endurance FR 111, Evening Star PD 1022, Faithlie FR 220, Harvest Hope PD 120, Harvester PD 98, Heather Sprig BCK 181, Lapwing PD 972, Lynden FR 151, Ocean Harvest PD 198, Opportunus IV PD 96, Olivia Jean TN 35, Reliance II BF 800, Rosebloom INS 353, Russa Taign K 193, Sunrise FR 359, Tranquility PD 35 and Venture III BF 326.
Smoked salmon and haddock was provided by J Smith & Son, and prawns and scallops by Seafood Ecosse, Macduff Shellfish and Frozen @ Sea.
The whitefish and shellfish was filleted and shelled by Enterfoods, French Fish Export, G&J Jack (Fraserburgh), Jack Fish Co (Peterhead), Laeso, McConnell Seafoods, JH Milne, Seafood Ecosse, GT Seafoods, J Smith & Son and Sustainable Seafoods, before being delivered to chefs at Buchan Braes and the Palace hotels in Boddam and Peterhead for final preparation.
Chefs and management teams from both hotels cooked and served the seafood on the stand.
Through the efforts and generosity of many, the donation buckets placed on the tables realised £1,010 for the Fishermen’s Mission when the contents were tipped out and counted shortly before the expo closed on the Saturday afternoon.
Peterhead Mission superintendent Steve Murray said: “Our sincere thanks go to everyone who contributed to this fantastic amount, which was made possible by the hard work and support of many people in the fishing industry.”
SSA celebrates Group Chain of Custody re-certification
The Scottish Seafood Association’s (SSA) Group celebrated the re-certification of its Group Chain of Custody by treating visitors to delicious canapés made from MSC-accredited fish caught by members of the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) and supplied by SSA Group members..
SSA CEO Jimmy Buchan said: “We are thrilled to have been in the MSC programme for three years, having been successfully re-certified in May this year. We now have 21 members in our group certification. This is rising year on year. Our customers always want sustainable seafood, and our group certification allows smaller businesses to meet this demand for sustainable MSC certified supplies.”
The first in the world for Group Certification of processors, the SSA has led the way in increasing the supply of MSC certified Scottish seafood into the UK supply chain to help meet the growing demand.
Claire Pescod, UK & Ireland senior fisheries outreach manager, added: “It’s great to see the successful SSA Group scheme’s membership increasing and the SSA continuing to help their members meet the growing demand for sustainable seafood. MSC developed the Group scheme to provide a more cost-effective way for organisations to join forces and benefit from economies of scale. The SSA Group means that UK fish and chip shops and restaurants have improved access to the large range of delicious certified species that Scotland has to offer.”