New-build vessel designed to train 14- to 16-year-olds

They do things differently in Norway! Whilst the powers that be in the UK fight over whether a teenager is permitted to catch a rope for a fishing boat, in Norway, the authorities confirmed last week the delivery of Skulebas, a £10m fishing vessel built specifically to train teenagers and support them to join the fishing industry, as well as provide a host of other teaching opportunities.

The vessel, built primarily with 14- to 16-year-olds in mind, arrived last week from the Danish Hvide Sande Shipyard to the Norwegian port of Måløy, where it will shortly start to provide a range of different training in skills as varied as engineering, fisheries science, navigation and catering. It can accommodate up to 15 pupils at a time.

The vessel is also equipped with a small laboratory, and with support from scientists at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, will undertake some basic research and monitoring, including investigating the spurdog fishery, recently reopened after a long moratorium to allow stocks to rebuild, and one of the target species for the boat when commercial fishing training commences.

The 38m vessel is powered through a 1,000kW battery pack that will be recharged at sea by diesel generators, driving an electric motor. Ashore, the vessel can either be powered by its batteries, or from shore power that in Norway is virtually all sourced from the country’s huge hydropower industry.

As befits a vessel working from Måløy, which supports a large fleet of international autoliners, fishing as far afield as Arctic and Antarctic waters, the boat will have the capability to haul multiple fishing gears including gill-nets and lines. The vessel includes a fully operational fish hold, and a separate freezer room for the storage of longline bait. Training on the industrial longlining system fitted will prepare pupils for work in the international longline fleet that is such an important employer in the port.

Owned by the local authority, but with significant financial contributions from local fishing companies, the vessel replaces a previous training boat also operated on behalf of Måløy High School.

This is not an easy ride for the teenagers! As well as being expected to operate professionally, with full support from the adult crew, they will be required to continue their general education aboard in the boat’s fully equipped classroom.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.50 here

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