New Vessel is Environment, Crew and Fish Friendly
Seattle-based Blue North, a natural resource company committed to ecologically sound and humane practices, has christened the F/V Blue North, a vessel it considers to be the most modern, low-impact and innovative vessel to ever enter the North Pacific fishing fleet.
Unique features of the F/V Blue North reduce its environmental impact. All water and waste on the vessel is captured and treated, and nothing is left behind to contaminate the ocean. A state-of-the-art engine-cooling and heat recovery system recycles water used to cool the ship's engines, and repurposes the captured heat for creating potable water, creating hot water and heating the ship.
These features mean less fuel is required to heat the vessel and no waste water is put back in the ocean. Engine power is monitored by a smart grid that detects electrical loads and appropriately distributes energy for maximum efficiency.
In addition to its new ecologically sound features, the vessel has been designed to improve working conditions for the crew. All fishing gear is inside and hauled through an interior opening in the vessel known as a "moon pool" so the fishermen are no longer exposed to unpredictable weather and associated risks of fishing in the Bering Sea.
Elevator and conveyer systems reduce the backbreaking work of loading and unloading ship supplies and seafood products. Auto freezers eliminate the laborious task of manually loading and unloading freezer trays. Deluxe staterooms are a mixture of private and double rooms, with a private lavatory in each. Workers sharing staterooms are scheduled for different shifts, so that each can rest privately in the room when off duty.
"Blue North is dedicated to sustainable practices, and we spared no expense when it comes to the features we included on the F/V Blue North that reduce environmental impact," said Kenny Downs, president and CEO at Blue North. "Not only are these practices more cost-effective, we believe that protecting our resources and environment is critical to the planet and the fishing industry."
The F/V Blue North also includes an innovative system designed to ensure more humane harvesting of seafood. A hook-and-line fishing system ensures one fish is handled at a time, and fish on the lines are pulled into the moon pool at the center of the boat. Fish are only out of water for a few seconds before being stunned, processed and frozen on board. Hooks are removed after stunning to reduce stress to the fish.
"Stunning creates a better-tasting, more nutritious and better-quality product," Down said. "Research has shown that reducing stress before processing produces higher quality and healthier food for consumers, and we believe it's also a more humane way to treat the fish."
Blue North has a long history of sustainable practices. The company's primary product, wild Alaska line-caught cod, comes from the first commercial cod fishery to be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council; this cod is designated a "Best Choice" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. In addition, Blue North is a producer partner of FishWise, a supplier member of FishChoice, and a business collaborator with Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.