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In every project for building a new vessel, the continuous search and research into the possibilities for improving the sustainability/selectivity of the fishing methods and the improvement of the working and living conditions for the crew, is applied.
With respect to the latter, the size of a fishing vessel is positively correlated with the safety and the working conditions of the 35 to 50 crewmembers on board.
Over 60% of the capacity of a freezer-trawler vessel is used for the sorting, processing, freezing and cold storage facilities on board. Freezing the catch at sea allows the vessels to stay longer on the fishing grounds.
From an economic point of view - as most pelagic species are of low value and transported over long distances - the efficient handling (and freezing) of the product is crucial.
The catch capacity of freezer-trawlers, as operated by all members of the PFA, is determined (i.e. limited) by their freezing capacity per 24 hours. The size of freezer-trawler, therefore, is not an indication of their catch capacity.
A freezer-trawler is operated by 35 to 50 crewmembers (depending on the size of the vessel) working in shifts of 6 hours. Depending on the catch and the weather conditions the vessels normally make fishing trips of 3 to 4 weeks.
The homeports of the PFA-fleet are Scheveningen, IJmuiden (Netherlands), Bremerhaven (Germany), Fécamp (France) and Kleipeda (Lithuania).