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More capacity, better quality

Factory trawler Örfirisey RE has been fishing mackerel this summer after going through an extensive refit that included major changes to the processing and freezing equipment on board. The refit started on the 19th of March and took three and a half months to complete, with Örfirisey sailing for its first post-refit trip on the 7th of July, and skipper Trausti Egilsson said that the results looks very promising.

‘All of the processing gear on the factory deck was stripped out and replaced with new freezers that use ammonia instead of freon, as well as slush ice machines with pre-chillers for sea water. This is expected to increase the freezing capacity by as much as 50%, but as we have been on mackerel all summer and that has been wholefrozen, we have yet to see how much the increase is when we are producing fillets on board. But there has been a significant increase in production of wholefrozen fish. Last year we managed 35 to 37 tonnes per day, but now we can manage 60 to 65 tonnes,’ he said, adding that he is looking forward to seeing how hard the new factory deck can be pushed when there is some serious fishing.

‘The aim is to increase capacity, but also to improve quality. The slush ice and pre-chillers have huge potential. Now all the fish that comes on board can be held for top quality products, regardless of the freezing capacity,’ Trausti Egilsson said.

When we spoke to Trausti Egilsson, Örfirisey was fishing for mackerel on the Thors Bank off eastern Iceland, after the trawler fleet moved there from the west coast recently. Catches have been variable over the last few days, but Trausti Egilsson said that the best fishing is during the night.