Krill harvesting has traditionally relied on trawl nets. However, this method has catches a number of other species, such as fish and seals. In the Antarctic’s fragile marine eco-system, unwanted by-catch represents a significant challenge.
It took major investments over the course of a decade for Aker BioMarine to complete development of its Eco-Harvesting technology. The trawl system gently conveys krill onboard for processing while the submerged trawl module eliminates by-catches (see illustration).
According to Webjørn Eikrem, EVP Production and Supply Chain, the Eco-Harvesting system is so effective that last year’s total by-catch, “could swim around in a small bucket.”
Working across disciplines, job roles, and time zones, Eco-Harvesting became a reality entirely due to staff ideas and engagement. “Saga Sea crew members took the initiative to create a new trawler technology and invited all skippers, mates, and deck crew from both our boats to a brainstorming session,” says Eikrem.
Eikrem recalls how ideas kept flowing during 4 a.m. phone conferences among project team members worldwide. Proposals were drafted in cooperation with Aker BioMarine’s partners, evaluated by the management team, and tested — all in record time.
When the first Eco-Harvesting system was ready for testing in Hirtshals, Denmark, everyone involved in the project turned up — from as far away as South America, the United States, and Iceland.
“Spotting a major problem that Aker BioMarine could potentially solve, generates enthusiasm and pulls together employees’ valuable expertise and skills to make game-changing innovation,” says Eikrem.
Spotting a major problem that Aker BioMarine could potentially solve, generates enthusiasm and pulls together employees’ valuable expertise and skills to make game-changing innovation.
EVP Production and Supply Chain