Kirkella, the UK’s leading freezer trawler

The Hull-based Kirkella was registered in June 2018 and is 81m long. She is a state-of-the-art trawler, catching around 12 tonnes of fish per haul. With 30 crew onboard and automated processing, the first fish reach the on-board freezers 40 minutes after being caught. Aided by GPS, sensors on the nets and sophisticated control systems, modern trawling is now so precise that wastage is negligible.

Kirkella keeps a digital record of all hauls of fish. The system records live weight as well as the amount produced by the onboard factory or fishmeal plant. The production of fishmeal, which consists of the carcasses of fish and all off cuts, means that Kirkella does not have any discard.

Kirkella‘s advanced technology makes fishing highly accurate, minimising bycatch and eliminating discards through the use of the net sensors; the sensors provide information on depth, width and temperature. Screens on the bridge console display information on the depth and width of nets as well as temperature thanks to sensors positioned at all the critical parts of the underwater operations.

Undersized and juvenile fish escape the catch through a grid in the net.

Each trawl lasts between 30 minutes and six hours. The nets are hauled onboard from the stern by powerful 2,000m cable winches and the catch is electronically stunned and conveyed to the onboard factory. The fish are filleted, frozen and packaged in a continuous, highly mechanised process. The guts, skins and heads are stored separately and processed into fishmeal and used in animal feeds and as a fertiliser. Kirkella can store up to 780 tonnes of fish fillets at -28 degrees Celsius in her onboard cold store.

Kirkella videos

Kirkella General Tour
Kirkella Factory Tour

The Farnella

UK Fisheries also operates a fresh fish trawler, Farnella, built in 2000. Farnella is 36m in length, and her tonnage is 667 gross tonnes. She fishes mainly for saithe (pollock) in UK waters but lands in France or Denmark where there is demand for this fish.