Blue North orders “green” longliner at Dakota Creek

Written by Nick Blenkey


MAY 8, 2013 – Seattle headquartered Blue North Fisheries has signed a contract with Anacortes, Washington, shipbuilder Dakota Creek Industries covering construction of what will be one of the most environmentally friendly and technologically advanced fishing vessels in the world. The contract includes an option to build a second vessel starting late in 2013

The vessel is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2014. Specifically developed for the Alaska cod hook-and-line fishery it was designed by Norway’s Skipsteknisk AS.

This new ST 155L design is a 58.35 m LOA x 12.8 m beam long liner specially designed for the hauling of long line through a moon pool in the center line.

Helge Slagnes, Chief Designer of Fishing Vessels at Skipsteknisk AS, says “Blue North has adopted innovations developed in Norway, made meaningful improvements, and is now taking them to a positive new level halfway around the world.”

“One of our main objectives in designing and building this vessel is making absolutely certain that we move forward in a way that is environmentally sensitive and thoughtful,” says Patrick Burns, Vice President at Blue North. “We recognize, accept and embrace our responsibility as stewards of sustainability in everything we do at Blue North.”

The vessel offers five key environmental and safety advantages.

First, it will deploy hook-and-line gear, which means that one fish will be caught at a time, with a focus on quality, as opposed to quantity. The benefit here is that the small lines leave a greatly reduced environmental footprint on the bottom of the ocean, compared to other gear types.

Second, it will be constructed with an internal haul station – a first in the United States. In terms of sustainability, the internal haul station assures the careful release of non-target species. And, in terms of safety, the internal haul station allows all vessel personnel to accomplish their work inside the boat.

Third, the boat will efficiently utilize proteins that currently go to waste, with the ultimate goal of 100 percent utilization. That said, the new Blue North vessel is not focused on catching more fish; instead, its onboard processing facility will use more of the fish that are caught. To accomplish this, every consumable product will be retained – including the liver, stomach, roe, milt and head. Currently, many hook-and-line fleets that process onboard only use the dressed fish, or 50 percent of the entire weight; the rest of the fish is ground up and discharged overboard, due to a lack of space, refrigeration capacity or onboard labor.

“This present practice is extremely wasteful and inefficient,” explains Kenny Down, Blue North’s President and CEO. “We believe we can implement significant processing changes that will make considerable sustainability and efficiency differences.”


Fourth, the new Blue North vessel will offer lower emissions and fuel savings of an estimated 30 percent or more, versus conventional designs. The vessel will be cleaner, thanks, in part, to the use of diesel electric twin-bladed dual-azimuth propulsion. The boat will also be one of the first fishing vessels in the United States built to meet new Tier III emissions standards.

Another factor behind the vessel’s strong fuel-and-emission credentials is the fact that it will be built with a molded or formed hull, which has a more efficient flow through the water because of decreased resistance. The new Blue North vessel will be the first purpose-built hook-and-line processing vessel in the United States to have a molded hull.

Fifth, the new Blue North vessel will greatly enhance the safety of life at sea. Its internal haul station means that crews will no longer be exposed to rough seas and freezing temperatures for hours on end, and the risk of falling overboard during hauling is negated. In addition, the vessel is built with a heavily weighted box keel design, to keep weight low, as well as an anti-roll tank; these features combine to provide an extremely stable working platform and further enhance the safety factors and crew comforts designed into every detail of the vessel.

“This boat is the culmination of 30 years in business,” says Michael Burns, Blue North’s Chairman. “Not only is it cutting edge in terms of technology, the environment, safety, and comfort for the crew, but it’s also a beautiful vessel.”

High Quality and Low Environmental Impact

Blue North’s new boat will be designed to produce boneless cod fillets, cod loins, and a host of vacuum-packed consumer-ready cod products on board. Each fish will be individually handled, immediately processed, and frozen within minutes of processing.

In addition, Alaska hook-and-line cod has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC); and it’s been designated as a “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

“We will sell our fish to environmentally conscious consumers who know they’re buying a quality product that’s from a low-impact, sustainable, monitored and regulated fishery,” says Blue North’s Kenny Down. “And we’ll use nationally known grocery retailers for distribution of this product as well.”

Sustainable Next-Generation Fishing Boosts the Economy

Looking around the world, Blue North products will be sold in traditional global markets that appreciate the difference in quality offered by hook-and-line-caught fish. These markets include Japan, Norway, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Brazil. For its part, China has begun to demand more of this product and is expected to become a major force in the consumption of high-quality hook-and-line fish in the future.

“Blue North currently sends about 10 percent of its yearly catch to domestic U.S. markets, primarily located in the Boston area,” explains Lance Magnuson, Managing Director of Blue North Trading Company and President of the Alaska Longline Cod Commission. “We believe that this new vessel’s production will open up further domestic markets, so that Americans can take pleasure in the same quality fish as foreign markets have enjoyed for many years.”

The implications for the United States economy are positive, too. In the coming years, Blue North’s sustainable next-generation fishing vessel is expected to help drive domestic consumption and exports, in addition to creating much-needed jobs here at home.

Says Maria Cantwell, U.S. Senator from Washington state: “Today’s announcement of a new fishing vessel for Blue North is great news for our fishing and shipbuilding industries. This construction will support shipbuilding jobs in Anacortes while adding to a strong legacy of building cutting-edge fishing vessels in Washington state. I was proud to write and help pass legislation into law in 2010 that gave freezer longliners the stability they needed to invest in new vessels and grow their businesses. I congratulate the skilled workers at Blue North and Dakota Creek Industries for their innovative work on this state-of-the-art vessel that helps grow our maritime economy.”

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