The cutter fleet is the largest fleet in Dutch fishery; it consists of some 280 fishing vessels, including 60 shrimp cutters.
It is possible to distinguish different sectors within the cutter fleet. The Dutch cutter fleet specialises in catching flatfish, such as sole and plaice. The most important fishing method is beam-trawl fishery. In total, approximately 110 beam-trawl cutters >24m are completely dependent on sole and plaice fishery. Over the last few years, there has been a noticeable increase in alternative fishing methods, such as 'twinrigging' (12 vessels) and 'snurrevaed' or 'flyshooting' (5 vessels). These cutters are mainly focused on other target species, such as Norwegian lobster, turbot, brill, red mullet, tub gurnard, squid and shrimp.
You can find more information about the fishing methods in the fact sheets.
The trawler sector, also known as large sea fishery, consists of four shipping companies that fish for pelagic species with freezer trawlers. A characteristic of pelagic fish species is that they swim in shoals and live in the entire water column –from just below the water surface to just above the seabed. The most important fish species caught by trawlers are herring, mackerel, horse mackerel, blue whiting and sardinella (=from the herring family). After the catch, the fish is chilled, sorted on size, frozen, packaged and stored in the freezer holds. This onboard process also explains the size of the trawlers, as all these activities require space. The fish from the shipping companies is destined for human consumption and to safeguard optimum quality it is essential to freeze the fish as soon as possible after the catch.
More information: Pelagic Freezer Trawler Association
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