For two decades, seafood company Blaze has been providing premium products to European, Asian, and African markets. Despite the solid commercial relationship with the Portuguese and French customers that the company has built since the beginning, it has been suffering over the past three years with the closure of European markets to the Brazilian fish due to sanitary concerns.
That was one of the reasons why Blaze decided to invest in its own boat. According to José da Silveira Jr., one of the owners, the company’s expectation is to obtain a European certification.
‘We hope that before the end of the year a European delegation will inspect boats, ports, and processing plants in Brazil. We want to show them that we’re ready to work with Europe again,’ he said.
Since the project started at the end of 2019, the plant was to obtain all necessary licenses during the construction process, something that is not usual in Brazil. According to Glauco Hausmann, Silveira Jr.’s partner, aspects as the boat’s seaworthiness and its processing plant have been examined and approved by the authorities.
‘It’s an innovative project in the Brazilian context. It follows several European standards, given that we’re in constant touch with operators in Portugal and other countries. It’s really a bet in the European market,’ Glauco Hausmann said.
Wesley Bento, a naval architect at Naval Norte Engenharia, has been in charge of the design, which was partially inspired by the recent Cordeiro de Deus E project, one of the few such vessels produced in Brazil in recent years.
‘Monkfish requires a larger processing area than scarlet prawn, which is Cordeiro de Deus E’s focus. Gutting, filleting, and parasite inspection are key phases in monkfish processing,’ he explained.
The 30.50 metre LOA Blaze I is also larger boat than Cordeiro de Deus E. It can carry up to 15 crew in two compartments, and it has a 228m3 fishroom capacity and a 120m2 catch handling space.
The vessel was designed following careful analysis. Key elements were incorporated to optimise seaworthiness and efficiency. The bulbous bow is to reduce the hull’s resistance and a PTI (power take-in) system is expected to streamline fuel consumption.
All catch handling systems had to be adapted to Blaze’s needs, since there are no specialised suppliers in Brazil. Stainless steel has been widely used in piping and in the processing area.
‘Blaze I is designed to be as autonomous as possible during operation. There are digital systems everywhere controlling systems such as electrics, the processing and temperature ,’ Wesley Bento added.
Data generated during fishing, including precise location and sea temperature, is recorded and made available to authorities and consumers.
The innovative technology and high standards call for the entire crew to be carefully trained, according to Glauco Hausmann.
‘Professional training is one of the elements that can make our product reaches a higher level,’ he said.
Blaze I is authorised by the Brazilian government to catch monkfish as its primary target species and a few other stocks as secondary catches, including crab.
‘Up to now, monkfish was caught in Brazil only as bycatch. It was very hard to select the best among the catch,’ José da Silveira Jr. said.
They now hope that Blaze I will be able to set a high standard for the catch, getting a better price for it in the international markets.
‘Now we’ll be able to freeze the catch on board, something that will allow us to compete with other exporters, such as those in South Africa,’ he said.