Mørenot already has a long background in producing both longlines and hooks, so the addition of a set of deck hardware to the range makes the company into a one-stop longline shop, according to Mørenot Ísland’s managing director Magnús Smith.
‘This has been developed by four young guys who all have an engineering background with tech companies, so they have the practical experience as well as the computer design skills, and they’ve brought some fresh ideas to this,’ he said.
The Catch LineTech system is a full package of hauler, hook splitter and baiting machine with versions for both coastal and offshore vessels, all designed from the outset as electric systems, rather than having been adapted from existing hydraulic equipment.
‘We’ve carried out initial tests on a boat in the Westman Islands, and now we’re preparing for a longer trial with the system at sea for a month so we can run a few hundred thousand hooks through it,’ he said.
The core of the Catch LineTech system is the E-Hauler, designed to be flexible and to make hauling as smooth as possible to minimise loss of fish from the line, and easily adjustable for speed and torque. This can come with an electro rotobrush unit. The hook splitter has all the capabilities of other such systems on the market, but operates with a much lower noise level and has more options for operation to be fine-tuned than has previously been possible.
‘We’ve tested the hauler up to around 65 hooks per minute, roughly one per second, and the pull up to 2200kg. The baiting machine is fully electric, driven by top-of-the-line servo motors, and it easily baits up to six hooks per second,’ he said.
‘If you’re shooting away the line in heavy weather, then everything slows down when you hit a wave, but once the boat is past the crest and runs down the other side, then the line whizzes out and you need to have that baiting speed for when the demand is highest.’
He added that ensuring every hook hits that water properly baited is vital, and a Hook Analyser is also in development as an optional extra. This checks each hook as the line is hauled, flagging up an alert every time it identified a hook that is damaged and needs to be replaced.
‘It costs around Isk20 put a baited hook in the water, and that’s not counting fuel costs. So it’s expensive to shoot hooks that aren’t going to catch fish.’
Magnús Smith commented that there are well established longline systems already on the market and in widespread us – and he has no illusions about what they are aiming to compete against.
‘We are up against some very good longline systems from established producers. But these engineers we have working on this have been able to approach this from some new directions to develop a setup that’s fully electric, not something based on 1970s technology. It operates with a low power requirement, and we have had plenty of skippers and engineers stopping by here to take a look, including some from the Norwegian longliners – and they all like what they have seen.’