UHMwPE trawls contribute to reduced fuel consumption in pelagic fishing

  • Lightweight UHMwPE replaces nylon in trawls
  • Substantial reduction in fuel consumption

Fishing Company Cornelis Vrolijk, based in IJmuiden, The Netherlands, and its subsidiary Jaczon, based in Scheveningen, The Netherlands, are specialized in pelagic fishing. The fishing trawls, which are used for catching pelagic (schooling) species, are traditionally made of nylon. The companies are now replacing their nylon trawls by trawls made from DSM’s UHMwPE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) fiber, branded as Dyneema.

Lighter material – easier handling

The trawls were developed by Maritiem BV in Katwijk, The Netherlands. Around 90% of the trawl material is Dyneema UHMwPE. The material is used in hand-spliced front sections of the trawls, from mesh size 800 mm and up. According to Maritiem some of these sections were previously made of knotted netting, but the knots were prone to slip. This does not happen with hand-spliced trawls. Dyneema can be used for these sections and also for the selvedge lines and the frame ropes.

The use of this far thinner material offers environmental advantages. The reduced resistance of the trawls in the water translates into a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, thus reducing the CO2 footprint of the pelagic fishing fleet. The lighter material makes them also easier to handle and therefore safer in use for the crew.

Fishing companies confirm “substantial reduction in fuel consumption”

In order to allow for a proper comparisons, identical trawls made of predominantly conventional materials such as nylon, were also carried on board some of the vessels. This made it possible to compare the performance of the different materials used in trawls of an identical design. Cornelis Vrolijk and Jaczon now have eight of the trawls made with UHMwPE in use. The size and shape of the trawls depends on the targeted species, fishing area and the dimensions of the vessel.

The fishing companies’ assessments were extremely positive:

Eric Roeleveld, Operations Manager of Jaczon says: “As a company specialized in pelagic trawling, we are profoundly aware of the environmental impact of our activities. One of our key drivers is to continuously look for increased sustainability in our fishing methods. We try to reduce our CO2 footprint wherever possible and support the FAO code of conduct for sustainable fisheries.”

“Positive results are coming in from all quarters.” says Johan Müller, Cornelis Vrolijk’s Fishing Fleet Manager, “We can also confirm a substantial reduction in fuel consumption and subsequent CO2 emissions.”


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