Trawl door producer Polar Fishing Gear is taking a step to one side from the conventional steel doors to produce both demersal and pelagic trawl doors using recycled plastic.
The designs are ready and the first production models of the Pluto doors – maintaining the tradition of using names from mythology – are expected to be ready soon.
“The first doors are going to a Westman Islands boat called Andvari VE-100, which is just 12 metres and one of the smallest boats in Iceland to work with groundfish trawl gear. Skipper Hafthór Halldórsson is using a pair of old-style Vee doors and is getting a 0.8 square metre pair of our Neptune doors soon, before he gets the first pair of plastic Pluto trawl doors. So we will have some real opportunities to make comparisons,’ said Atli Már Jósafatsson at Polar Fishing Gear.
He commented that the Pluto doors are made entirely from plastic, which offers plenty of design possibilities that are not options when working with all-steel doors. The Pluto doors are made with steel fittings and attachment points, but no internal steel frame is needed. This pattern of construction is practical up to door sizes of around 2 square metres.
“That means the fleet up to around 20 metres can use these doors, and there are thousands of small trawlers around the world in that size bracket. We are already seeing interest from the UK and Spain in particular – and Seafish is very enthusiastic about what can be achieved with these doors.”
He added that Polar Fishing Gear has built up a strong position in Catalonia, where the fleet has enthusiastically adopted the company’s Jupiter pelagic doors, and there’s also strong interest in Pluto doors.
“Now the interest there is entirely for pelagic doors. They have seen that trawl gear can be spread effectively without the doors needing to touch the bottom, and they only want pelagic doors,” he said.
“Fishing vessels there are required by law to bring all waste fishing gear ashore for disposal. We are already involved in a circular economy project in Catalonia, and expect to produce these doors in Spain as well as in Iceland, and at other locations.”
Atli Már Jósafatsson commented that the market for Polar’s doors in the Mediterranean region has been growing steadily, with strong demand from Spain, Italy and Greece.
“In Spain it’s the pelagic doors. But in Italy and Greece skippers are looking for semi-pelagic Hercules and Mercury trawl doors,” he said.
“We recently supplied a trawler in Viareggio with a 1.70 square metre pair of Hercules doors, which not only spread more efficiently than the locally made 2.40 square metre doors they had been using, but contributed to reducing their fuel bill by around 20% – a saving of close to €2000 each month.”