World’s First All-Electric Longline Handling System – Interview With Alf Rune Ose by Una Gisladottir

F/V Kap Farvel is the first fishing boat in the world that started using the all-electric longline handling system from Mørenot. Already after one week of testing followed by seven weeks of fishing, the feedback from the skipper and crew is unanimous: This is the longline system of the future!

World's First All-Electric Longline Handling System
Kap Farvel

For several years, Mørenot has been challenging the idea of a traditional hydraulic longline system with its first fully electric longline system for both deep sea and coastal fisheries. Seeing the opportunity of a high-tech electrical longline system, Mørenot has heavily invested in innovation that enables fishers to effortlessly achieve higher efficiency, lower energy consumption, and better working conditions. Mørenot’s VP Alf Rune Ose explains how their engineers in Iceland developed the complete mechanical system with an updated LineTech longline control system to revolutionize the fishing industry.

Alf grew up in Norway, in the small city of Aalesund surrounded by fjords. Born into a family of skippers, he was introduced to fishing and sailing early on. “The ocean has always been a big part of my life. I bought my first sailboat with my father when I was 16 years old, and we spent every summer sailing. Being a self-taught sailor, I learned through books as much as I did through trials and errors. In my earlier years, I have crossed the North Sea several times, from Ørsta to Lerwick. And today, my youngest enjoys sailing with me in the summer.”

“I studied marketing in college. Then, I started working in a company that specialized in industrial products for infrastructure projects, focusing on sales and project management. In 2011, I joined Mørenot Dyrkorn as a Sales Manager for the longline and hook business.”

Mørenot’s VP Alf Rune Ose.

Mørenot has been on the market for over 100 years and is a trusted brand in the fishing industry and aquaculture. Mørenot Fishery is a division of Mørenot with more than 800 employees, selling fishing gear to commercial fishing fleets worldwide. Alf tells us, “My sales area is mostly the export markets. Mainly I am supporting and following up with my sales team. I make sure that they have the proper tools to do their job and ensure that we follow up with the customer in a productive and professional way. We discuss strategies and economic results on a monthly basis. We started this major mechanical longline product launch in 2020, which has been a pleasure to be a part of.

The engineering team has done great work, and it is very satisfying to now see and experience the end result.

“This new project challenges us to start up a new product line to compete with an established player that has dominated this market for years. We are ready for this challenge, and we are fortunate to know the fishing industry in and out. We are the industry. Mørenot is a large company that fishers trust, and we know that this product will not let them down. We are proud of this full-range system, and we are confident that there is a space and need for us in the industry. Our mission is to constantly evolve, make our products greener, and keep up with our customers’ feedback.”

Will electric longline systems replace standard hydraulic systems?

For decades, longline systems have been hydraulically operated. This is a robust design, but it heavily limits the possibilities of adjusting the machinery. Fishers are also surrounded by a loud noise from the hydraulic pumps onboard. Meanwhile, ship owners are forced to account for high power consumption and frequent maintenance. “It was time for longline technology to leave the past behind and offer a greener, user-friendly, and easily controllable system,” explains Alf.

“So, the question is not if but when electric systems will replace the old standard of hydraulic longline systems.”

Mørenot decided to find fresh talent that was ready to think outside the box and make their vision a reality for this big project. Alf explains: “We intentionally chose younger engineers to the market, they bring fresh ideas, and they are not “stuck” in the same old ways of doing things. We have also found that younger engineers are more focused on eco-friendly solutions and are constantly trying to improve how much energy is used.”

Three engineers from Iceland are the brains behind this product. “They have done an excellent job! Especially because they are entering a market that has not been challenged before.”

The Mørenot development team in Iceland: Oskar, Ragnar, and Emil (front to back).

Alf Rune Ose explains his thoughts on the key design features: “We all know that working with fish is a messy business. So we wanted to make sure that our new system was super hygienic, easy to clean, and straightforward to maintain. A lot of fishers are looking for better options and more diversity in the market, and our new system offers both. Our competition pushes us to do better for our customers, and we can say that there is plenty of room for us.”

Mørenot’s fully electric longline system only consumes the power it needs. Compare that to hydraulic systems, which are “full steam ahead” at all times. The electric system enables the user to control different power modes and programs while being exposed to practically zero motor noise.

Mørenot has designed a system that is suitable for fishing operations worldwide. “Fishing in Canada has unique environmental challenges that have been accounted for. By integrating sensors into the motors, fishers achieve more accurate readings that can be read directly from electric screens. One of the most significant advantages of this new electric system is its unique ability to follow the boat’s movements on the sea. Rough weather can lead to uncontrolled boat movements which will reduce the catch, but the new electric longline system was engineered to tackle even stormy seas. When sailing through high waves, the hauler adjusts the speed so the line almost stops on the way up, and then speeds up as the boat moves down the wave. This feature contributes to not only a higher yield but also bigger fish caught. The automatic electric longline system consumes less energy and is more accurate, environmentally friendly, and sustainable.”

Hauler and Rotobrush
Hauler and Rotobrush.

Mørenot installed their first complete electric longline system on the Norwegian fishing vessel Kap Farvel. Within less than three weeks, the complete system was installed onboard, and the fishing boat and the crew was loading the boat with bait. The Kap Farvel started test fishing west of Aalesund for a week before the vessel sailed to the south coast of Iceland.

First electric longline system aboard the Kap Farvel
First electric longline system aboard the Kap Farvel.

“The reports we got back from the boat after almost seven weeks at sea have really highlighted the great use of the system, the good functionality, and excellent engineering performance. Most importantly, the fishing has also been good! Up to 15 tons a day. This is the first vessel that we have installed the complete deep-sea system on, and the crew and we are very happy with the results, ” recounts Alf.

Leif-Egil Grytten captain of Kap Farvel comments regarding the new longline system: “Mørenot ‘s automatic electric longline system has been a game-changer for our boat. This system has been requested for years, and fishers worldwide are excited to finally exchange their hydraulic longline systems for electric longline systems. Our fishing has improved, our work performance has increased, and our crew enjoys more peace and quiet on board. The old hydraulic longline system made a lot of noise, and it was expensive to keep it running. Our new electric motor runs without noise and makes the work environment much more comfortable. This system is designed to only use the energy that’s necessary to operate, therefore using less oil and creating a smaller carbon footprint.”

CEO of the company Ronny Sunde Nogva on the left and Leif-Egil Grytten captain of Kap Farvel on the right. © Hilde Beate Ellingsæter
CEO of the company Ronny Sunde Nogva on the left and Leif-Egil Grytten captain of Kap Farvel on the right. © Hilde Beate Ellingsæter

Alf has a clear vision for Mørenot’s longline systems: “Longlining was already the most environmentally friendly method to fish and guarantees the highest quality of the catch and now we have improved it even more.”