Nobska completes its first trip for Blue Harvest Fisheries

The F/V Nobska pulling into port after its maiden voyage.

Blue Harvest Fisheries' newest vessel, the F/V Nobska, returned to port earlier this week after a successful maiden voyage.

Blue Harvest acquired the vessel, previously named the Francis Dawn, earlier this year as part of the company’s pivot to focus on growing its groundfish fishing business. Built in 2019, the vessel is equipped with state-of-the-art electronics and a slurry ice vat system for its fish hold. 

The Nobska made four back-to-back fishing trips between 7 April and 10 May, landing 335,000 pounds of fish in New Bedford and Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.  Blue Harvest said the vessel caught monkfish, flounder, haddock, Acadian redfish, hake, and pollock. The company said a pattern of three or four trips, followed by maintenance and crew rest, will be the typical operational plan for the vessel in the future.

The Nobska took on the namesake of Blue Harvest’s former flagship vessel, which burned in 2021.

“We’re very pleased with the performance of the Nobska on its maiden voyage, and are excited to see its future potential,” Blue Harvest Fisheries CEO Chip Wilson said. “We are confident in the future of the groundfish fishery, and vessels like the Nobska are an important part of that future.”

In recent years Blue Harvest has shifted its focus to groundfish, and the company has sold off all 15 of its scallop vessels – acquired between 2015 and 2018 as part of a strategy led by former CEO Keith Decker. In addition to selling off its scallop fleet, the company also suspended operations at its processing plant in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where it is headquartered, as part of an overall strategy shift to “realize potential” of its groundfish operations.  

“This is the first step in implementing our long-term investment strategy for groundfish,” Wilson said. “With these investments Blue Harvest Fisheries will be able to consistently offer high-quality groundfish, like those just landed by the Nobska.”

Blue Harvest plans to soon launch a sixth groundfish vessel, the Schelvis, with a length of 85 feet and a gross tonnage of 175 tons. The Schelvis was purchased as part of Blue Harvest’s acquisition of 12 groundfish vessels and 27 fishing permits from the fleet of Carlos “The Codfather” Rafael, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to falsifying fish quotas, tax evasion, and conspiracy and then subsequently settled a civil case with NOAA that forced him to permanently cease all commercial fishing activity by 31 March, 2020.

The new vessel will make its first trip once USD 1.9 million (EUR 1.7 million) in upgrades are completed, according to Blue Harvest.

Photo courtesy of Blue Harvest


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