Implementation of new Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW-F) requirements, fish-finding and catching equipment advances, as well as an increased focus on sustainable fisheries, have led to a break-through first contract to develop an integrated fishery training simulator.
Ordered by Lofoten Vocational School (LVS) in northern Norway from Kongsberg Digital and called ‘K-Sim Fishery,’ the simulator will enable navigation, fish-finding and catching training that’s designed to improve sustainability and safety. It will be based on Kongsberg’s existing K-Sim simulation technology and Simrad professional fishery equipment, which includes echosounders, sonars and trawl monitoring systems.
Speaking to NauticExpo e-magazine, Kongsberg Digital’s maritime simulation business development VP Terje Heierstad explained: “LVS will be the first to bring this new training approach to the fishing industry. That’s especially important for this fishing-oriented area of Norway, but also important for the fishery industry globally.
“The school will upgrade its existing Kongsberg Polaris ship-handling simulator to the latest K-Sim Navigation technology platform. Integrated with the K-Sim Fishery simulator module, it will fulfil the STCW-F requirements for training and fulfil [classification society] DNV-GL’s certification standards.” LVS will move to a new location in Leknes, Lofoten, and the opening of the new facility is planned for 2019. The simulator training will contribute to UN Sustainability Goals, especially number 14—to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources.
LVS maritime manager Finn Axel Hartvigsen noted: “In addition to education in safe and efficient navigation and ship handling for fishing, practice on the simulator’s search and catch instrumentation will help both new and veteran fishermen perform better. The simulator will also enable increased competence and career progression for the crew who wish to further develop skills in navigation, and in new and different fishing methods to meet today’s higher standards of fish quality.”
Heierstad added: “K-Sim Fishery can also be delivered as a stand-alone system. It’s designed as a fishing vessel bridge—different vessel models and sizes are available—with all the necessary equipment for navigation and fish-catching. That includes winches for handling purse seine, trawl, and long-line fishing equipment.”
Simulator training will improve the safety of fishing as well as increase productivity and sustainable practices.
As he pointed out, there is an increased focus on sustainable fisheries and the simulator will promote that. “Students will learn how to read the sonar and echosounder to detect the correct species and how to select the right size of fish, as well as shoal sizes, in order to prevent overfishing. They will also learn to correctly utilize the vessel’s equipment, optimize working hours and fuel consumption, choose the best routes and vessel position, and carry out appropriate manoeuvres to control the fishing gear to ensure the quantity and quality of the catch.”
“The simulator allows students to familiarize themselves with, and operate, different types of fishing gear,” he continued, “while building an understanding that different fishing techniques require different approaches and that different fish species behave in different ways. Further, they will learn how to plan a fishing campaign, find, catch and safely and efficiently store fish, whilst monitoring vessel stability during the loading process.”
As for challenges during the simulator development program, Heierstad doesn’t see anything major. “We benefit from the co-operation and expertise within the Kongsberg Group. Both Kongsberg Digital’s simulator solutions and the fishing equipment from Simrad are based on established, advanced technology. We, therefore, have the in-house expertise in the different domains and by uniting them we have the opportunity to develop and offer a state-of-the-art fishery simulator.”
Kongsberg’s development of such simulators includes the 2016-launched Fishmaster concept. As mentioned, simulator training has international relevance and Kongsberg plans a global rollout of the K-Sim Fishery. “Over 50 million people depend directly on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods—and over a billion people in poorer countries are reliant on fish to sustain a balanced, healthy diet,” Heierstad concludes.
“Commercial fishermen often operate in extreme conditions, exposed to serious risks: simulator training will improve the safety of fishing as well as increase productivity and sustainable practices for the future.”