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HB Grandi – fewer freezers, more freshers

Due to the improved profitability of shore processing and reductions in quotas, HB Grandi has decided to lay up one freezer trawler and convert another to operate as a fresher. During the next quota year the company plans to operate three freezer trawlers instead of five and four fresher trawlers instead of three. In addition to its trawlers, HB Grandi also operates three pelagic vessels.

It is the company’s opinion that there is greater value to be obtained from processing fish ashore rather than freezing at sea, not least due to increased demand overseas for fresh seafood products.

The reason for slimming down the fleet is primarily a shortage of catching opportunities, as the company’s groundfish quotas have been reduced by 3445 cod-equivalent tonnes over the past three years. The trawlers’ catch per fishing day has also increased from 22 tonnes to 26 tonnes.

The proposed changes will reduce the company’s crew requirement by 34, from 320 to 286, although there will be an additional 50 jobs ashore. This increases the number of full-time posts by 16. HB Grandi currently employs 800 staff.

Changes can be expected in crewing all of HB Grandi’s vessels and this has already been discussed with staff and unions. Plans for crewing are expected to be complete by 27th March and these will take effect on the 10th July, by which time quotas for this year for freezer trawlers Helga María and Venus will have been fully exploited.

The company’s oldest trawler, Venus, built in Spain in 1973, is to be laid up. Helga María will be steamed to Poland for general maintenance and conversion to a fresher trawler. Polish shipyards were able to make the most favourable offers, significantly lower than those offered by Icelandic yards. Helga María is scheduled to be ready to resume fishing in early November.