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EU Blue Economy Observatory

6. Other Innovations

6.1 Using latest technological innovations in the design and build of new vessels

The fishing company Bluewild AS, Ålesund (DK), along with the shipbuilder Ulstein Design & Solutions AS, Ulsteinvik (DK), have, together with several players in the maritime cluster, developed a concept for a new trawler: ECOFIVE which stands for “Eco-Friendly Fishing Vessel.”1 The central part of the innovation in the project lies in a newly developed catch reception and handling of the trawl. It is expected to enter into service in early 2024.

The vessel will have hybrid power and propulsion system, which combines the best features of diesel-electric and diesel-mechanical propulsion, is supported by a large battery pack and comes with two large propellers with rudder nozzles. Fuel savings of at least 25% per kilo of fish product are anticipated. In some operations, together with other energy-saving measures on board, this figure can exceed 40%.

Examples of similar innovations for new vessels were presented at the Nor-Fishing event in August 2022. Information presented included a Next-Generation Factory Trawler with a high technology fuel saving system and on the Ideal Trawler in terms of energy and fishing efficiency based on the current best technologies2.

6.2 Digitisation

Digitisation, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), is being developed more and more for the shipping sector, though again it does not seem to have significantly impacted yet on the fishing and aquaculture sector. One example, for aquaculture, is the Innovasea aquaculture management platform. It is an advanced, cloud-based platform that enables fish farmers to monitor, manage and control operations from anywhere, at anytime.

A review of Artificial Intelligence and the Fisheries Sector, looked at the (potential) applications, finding that machine learning is used inter alia for sample analysis and processing; to automatically classify or determine fishers’ behaviour; and for early warning systems and marine spatial planning. It was noted too that fishing vessels could improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 footprint by using AI systems. A potential application here is to use a combination of AI and naval architecture knowledge to predict the expected operational fuel consumption of any type of vessel3.

The startup company, Intelligentica, based in Morocco, leverages the power of new technologies such as AI, Machine Learning and Big Data to deliver innovative solutions. This includes Intelligent Fishing For Sustainable Resources which combines fishing effort with environmental, ocean and biological indicators for fisheries stock assessment, in order to inform smart and optimised sustainable fishing4.

Onboard electronic monitoring5 is also under development. For example, a pilot project with the US Gulf of Alaska fishing fleet reported an overall positive outcome. Whilst some fishers were uncomfortable with having onboard cameras and there were technical challenges for the cameras to function in harsh weather conditions, nevertheless it gave greater confidence in counts of bycatch, thereby allowing for greater accountability. A future evolution being considered is to have sensors on gear that can automatically communicate when it is set, its location, depth, and other information. Elsewhere, the company Thai Union Group along with NGO The Nature Conservancy are also promoting electronic monitoring to improve in global tuna supply chains.

Other developments include Ecobuq, which is a simulator that optimises the energy and environmental efficiency parameters of ships.

6.3 Onshore solar panels

With support from EMFAF, solar panels were purchased by the fishermen’s guilds of Cartagena, Mazarrón, Águilas and San Pedro del Pinatar (Spain) and placed on the fishermen’s huts as a way to conserve energy use from fossil fuels.

Similarly, a new fish market in the Valencian port of Torrevieja (Spain) was constructed with energy efficiency aspects, such as sustainable lighting via the installation of a partially translucent roof to give natural light to the interior, as well as photovoltaic panels.

6.4 Offshore refuelling

Work is also ongoing to provide a fuelling platform offshore so that vessels would not need to enter port. One initiative is to place such a fuelling point alongside an offshore wind farm, thereby using in situ wind energy to produce, for example, hydrogen fuel and then store on a platform so that vessels can then come alongside and refuel.

Another approach is to have mobile refuelling barges which can then come alongside ships and refuel them6. Likewise, developing floating production units is also being considered, like for green ammonia7.

6.5 Private financing

The private sector financing of adapting, retrofitting and for new ships is another consideration. For example, the bank Abanca (ES) has a collaboration agreement with the Galician Federation of Fishermen’s Associations aimed at facilitating access to financial products, as well as the promotion of sustainability. Specifically, the agreement aims to improve sustainability and energy efficiency through the process of renewing the fishing fleet.

1.Details at See also ecofive-marks-a-shift-for-the-fishing-industry/ and…- tion-award/

2.Special edition by Industrias Pesqueras,

3.See, for example,…

4.The company’s work was presented at the EU’s BlueInvest Africa event in September 2022, see gentica/videos/

5.Electronic monitoring is part of the European Commission’s proposal, from May 2018, for the revision of the fisheries control system, aimed at modernising and simplifying the rules for monitoring fisheries activities and ensuring compliance with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The proposed Regulation is currently under negotiation with the co-legislators, European Council and European Parliament, see…

6.See, for example, the ELEMANTA H2 project,…

7.See, for example,…