At Sea Harvest, we are always looking at ways to boost efficiency and streamline our business operations. Many times, this has necessitated acquiring new trawlers, adding to our already impressive fleet of vessels. In 2015, we refitted a trawler to switch it to sea-frozen production, while we also invested in our land-based processing in Saldanha Bay.
After a R45 million refit, we put our Miriam Makeba trawler in the water to great applause. The vessel has been fitted with a brand-new engine and on-board factory to support our operations, helping us to take our processes to the next level. With the addition of the Miriam Makeba, we now have four freezer vessels out of a fleet of 13. Prior to this, we added the freezer trawler Harvest Atlantic Peace to the fleet in 2014.
These continued expansions are all about achieving a better balance. While we have always had a very strong focus on freshness, it became necessary for us to invest in freezing, as this seems to be the global trend at the moment. The markets are ripe for products frozen at sea, and on the sales side, we are really excited about what it means for Sea Harvest.
Taking South African Fish to the World
As with Atlantic Peace, the refitted Miriam Makeba trawler produces FAS headed and gutted hake and fillets. The headed and gutted fish is mainly destined for our southern European markets. The fillets are also distributed to southern and northern Europe, as well as to Australia and the United States.
We are also continually investing in our land-based processing in order to increase efficiency and quality even more. Since our new trawlers are taking some fish out of our land-based operations, we found that there was a need to focus on making it more efficient than it already is. Our vessel fleet is incentivised on quality, and ensures they bring a quality product on land. We feel our land-based operations should also be able to support our sea-based ventures.
Fishing Sustainably and Responsibly
We control around 35 000 metric tonnes of the quota for South African hake. In 2015, catches amounted to 148 000 tonnes. With the move to Miriam Makeba for FAS production, 65% of our quota will be sea-frozen, this percentage was previously 60%. This is a vast amount of fish, and we would be remiss if we did not double down on our commitment to sustainable fishing practices. The South African Deep Sea and In-Shore Hake Trawl Fishery, of which we are a rights holder, has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
The MSC is the world’s leading certification and eco-labelling program for sustainable seafood, and we were the first company in South Africa to obtain MC Chain of Custody. All our products therefore carry the coveted MSC logo, assuring all our consumers and customers of environmentally responsible fishing practices. To learn more about our company and how we continue to support eco-responsible fishing practices with our fleet of trawlers, contact us today.