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The quality of the fish you eat – it’s not just about the fish

With Nor-Fishing 2016 just days away, we caught up with Cato Esperø, Wärtsilä’s Director of Sales for Marine Solutions and Services in Norway, and asked a few questions about the fishing business, the exhibition in Trondheim – and whether the fishing industry is prepared to meet the digital and innovation revolution that is now common-place in the marine sector.

Why is Wärtsilä at Nor-Fishing this year?

Wärtsilä always participates in Nor-Fishing. It’s one of the three important international exhibitions in Norway that we participate in – along with Nor-Shipping and the Oil & Gas trade show ONS in Stavanger. Nor-Fishing is important to the North Sea countries like Norway, Iceland, Sweden, UK, Russia, and Denmark, and you will also see shipyards and suppliers from all over Europe and also probably from the Far East who are interested in displaying their services.

What are the key propositions that Wärtsilä is bringing to the fishing market?

In the fishing market and fishing industry – and the fish farming industry which is also growing – the vessel types are becoming bigger, and more sophisticated. This is a very important area for Wärtsilä. We also see that in these types of vessels, there’s a great deal of innovation happening. Fishing vessel owners and operators are very innovative in their approach in how they do business, and we are part of that innovation.

What we are focusing on for this segment is from a large part of our product portfolio. This year, we will “launch” the Wärtsilä 31 engine at Nor-Fishing for the fishing industry, the Guinness World Award-winning medium-speed engine which fits perfectly for this market. We will present our propulsion solutions such as the 2-speed gear box and a new thruster generation, which contribute to increased efficiency, reduced fuel consumption and significantly reduced maintenance costs. This year, we will also focus on hybrid solutions, combining engines and batteries to make the vessels even more fuel-efficient. Batteries will give new ways to operate and it can also be a new step to reduce operations maintenance; and a wide range of other products and solutions, such as Electrical and Automation products which can be used by this market. Ship design is also a big focus for us. Throughout the years, we have been part of delivering a large quantity of vessel design to the whole North Sea fleet.

What can visitors to Nor-Fishing look forward to from Wärtsilä in Trondheim next week?

Our customers and other guests can meet key people and subject matter experts from various parts of the organisation. We will have a mini seminar in the exhibition area where will “relaunch” the Wärtsilä 31 and also showcase the hybrid combinations and solutions to the industry. There will be plenty of opportunity to look through the products. There will also be entertainment with some interesting artists, supporting the efforts of the main cast – the Wärtsilä team – at Nor-Fishing.

Wärtsilä is known for its innovative solutions. You also mentioned that fishing vessel owners are themselves very innovative in their approach. What innovations do you see in the future for fishing vessels?

For fishing vessels, owners are very focused on operational excellence, and solutions and equipment suppliers that are reliable.  For both fishing vessels and salmon live fish carriers, the owners are focused on having solutions in their vessels that support the superior quality of their products. From harvesting their products, to the handling process, to the quality management process, and across the entire chain – they want to ensure the high quality of the products that they bring to the market. When you have hundreds of tonnes of fresh fish that are harvested and brought on board the vessel, you need to have solutions that help to maintain the quality of these products. The companies that sell fish are selling quality products to quality-conscious consumers. They need suppliers who can support their focus on quality, listen to their needs, and play a part in bringing that quality from the sea to the customer. So, reliable vessels with reliable solutions ensure that the quality is maintained from sea to market.

There is a lot of talk in the marine industry about the digital revolution. Do you see the fishing segment adopting those digital practises also, or will they remain unchanged for some time?

In my opinion, fishing vessels will also adopt the technologies of the future. The vessel owners and companies are very innovative, and they want to have the best solutions. They are very open to new ideas and changes taking place in the industry. Of course, it varies from owner to owner. Some are in the forefront of change, while others are more patient and wait to see how the new solutions are impacting their industry, because it is also a balancing act between functionality and benefits, and the cost of adopting these changes. But overall, we will see a gradual change into more digital solutions, because that’s the way the industry is heading, and the vessel owners are seeing these changes happen all around them.  


Cato Esperø and the Wärtsilä team will be at Nor-Fishing 2016 in Trondheim, Norway, from 16 to 19 August, 2016.
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