The Pacific Tuna Operation currently comprises 3 large scale purse seine vessels, or “super seiners” as they are sometimes known. The FV San Nikunau and FV San Nanumea were purchased in July 2001 and the FV Ocean Breeze joined the fleet in October 2004 following the acquisition of the assets of Simunovich Fisheries Limited.
The vessels target skipjack tuna and operate primarily in the Western & Central Pacific Ocean, but depending on fishing they will return to operate in New Zealand waters during the summer skipjack season.
Western & Central Pacific Ocean
The vessels capture tuna by the method of purse seining which involves surrounding tuna schools with a net, which is then drawn closed to create the “purse” so that the tuna are then captured. The net is then hauled on board by a hydraulic power block until the fish are contained in the “sack” or “bunt” of the net alongside the vessel where they are then brailed on board.
Tuna school “foamer” inside netRolling net through power block
A typical purse seine used by the super seiners measures 1500 to 2000m in length and is 120 to 250 m in depth. The size of the mesh is usually around 120 mm stretched mesh but different sizes of mesh are used in different areas of the net. The top of the net is mounted with a floatline (a rope with floats attached) and the bottom a leadline (which usually consists of steel chain and steel rings, known as “purse rings”, which are attached below the chain). The purse line, which is a steel cable, runs through the purse rings, and allows the drawing or “pursing” of the net.
Purse Seine Net
These super seiners are typically between 45 to 85 m in length (some are now over 100 m) and are equipped with a large skiff and a few speed boats. The fish is stored whole in bulk and is preserved by brine freezing in wells of between 40 to 80 mt capacity (total 800 to 2000 mt).
Typical Purse Seine Vessel
The 3 vessels in the Pacific Tuna Operation are as follows:
|Place:||La Spezia, Italy / Maloy, Norway|
|Fish Wells:||1724 m3 / 1382 t|
|Length (overall)||77.20 m|
|Fish Wells:||1592 m3 / 1275 t|
|Length (overall)||61.50 m|
|Fish Wells:||1142 m3 / 915 t|