National Fisherman

Boats & Gear 

Michael CrowleyThe Boats & Gear blog is overseen by our Boats & Gear editor, Michael Crowley. It explores new construction projects, electronics, gear and equipment for the commercial fishing industry.

2013 1031 PropRolls-Royce's new integrated prop and rudder retrofit package could cut the fuel bill for boats approaching factory-trawler size.

The first installation of Rolls-Royce’s Promas Lite on a commercial fishing vessel should be completed by the first of November at Vigor Shipyard in Seattle. The vessel is the 376-foot factory trawler Alaska Ocean owned by Seattle’s Glacier Fish.

There are three elements with a Promas Lite retrofit. A stainless steel hubcap goes over the propeller hub, while behind it is a prefabricated bulb that’s attached to the existing rudder. Then the propeller is either rebladed or replaced by one that allows maximum loading on the blade tips.

Put them all together and you have a streamlined waterflow across the rudder, as well as behind it. That results in increased propeller thrust, fuel reduction of 5 to 15 percent (It’s near the lower end of the scale when towing), and a reduction in emissions. It’s also possible that a reduced engine load will reduce the wear on the engine.

Promas Lite can go on single- and twin-screw vessels. While it has been installed on a number of cruise ships, this is the first commercial fishing vessel installation. The payback period should be two to three years.

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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