Since Scanmar was established 40 years ago, 50.000 sensors have been delivered to thousands of fishing vessels and Fishery Research vessels around the world.
The establishment of Scanmar was the result of many trips on board different fishing vessels, mainly trawling, for various species of white fish, pelagic fish and shrimp, made by myself and my colleagues. Though it was obvious to us that it would be possible to increase catches by introducing new products for surveying the fishing gear and catching conditions, it never crossed the minds of most fishermen. Many would find this strange, but far from it. It is normal for most of us; when we have been doing things for a long time, it is hard to accept that there are better ways to do it. In this case, it is even more obvious: While the fishermen were very experienced in what they were doing, and made lots of changes with rigging and other things they thought would improve their catch, our minds were used to electronics, data and acoustics, so you could say we were trained in a completely different way of thinking.
Apart from the challenge of developing advanced cable free signal transmission based on new unproven technology, strong protective plastic, reliable electronics etc., the main problem would be to tell fishermen how products they had never heard of, based on new technology, could help them increase catches and reduce costs. And how was it possible that Scanmar, a newly established company could invent such a product, when the big worldwide suppliers of electronic fish finders, from Norway, Japan, Germany and many other countries, had never been close to it.
Understandably, it is difficult for a small Norwegian company, recently established, to visit 100 countries, to inform about a new product nobody had heard of, not to mention all the fishing ports in all these countries. Competent dealers did not exist since nobody had any knowledge of this type of product, and even worse, nobody would know how to use it in various fishing operations.
There was a lot of traveling during these years, and I must say it has been rewarding. Not the traveling itself, of course, but meeting fishermen of different nations and cultures, and especially going to sea, observing and learning every detail, which varies very much, even from vessel to vessel, doing the same type of fishing. It is all in the head of the skipper.
The challenge for us then was to distribute knowledge about the new product, make recommendations on how to use it, and convey information and experience from the skippers that took it on board.
And it was quite a challenge; we decided to create a little ” newspaper” “Scanmar Info”. Over the years there must have been 50-60 editions, each containing 16-32 pages, and each of them distributed to thousands of fishing companies, fishing vessels, officers and crew, all over the world.
Many skippers have collected them, and we often receive their gratitude for helping them to improve their catch; in fact, many are saying they might have gone into bankruptcy if it were not for their Scanmar system and what they learned from Scanmar Info.
Scanmar Info is often called the “Bible” in Spain while in Russia it is called the “Textbook”.
For me, as a Norwegian, it is not quite clear what a Spanish skipper exactly means by the word Bible, or the Russian with Textbook, but the general interpretation is that a bible is a book which tells you how to live, while a textbook gives you information and education meant to help you solve problems you come across during your life.
Over almost 40 years the Bible/Textbook has encouraged thousands of fishing vessels to buy 50.000 sensors to improve their fishing. It is an incredible figure.
THIS IS ALL HISTORY, AND OF NO VALUE ANYMORE. OR, IS THAT TRUE?
No, not at all. While, of course, some owners and skippers are willing to settle for cheap simple solutions, today most owners and skippers and crew are thinking ahead, about their future, how they will be able to compete on quality, obtaining better prices, reducing costs etc. Like in other parts of the food industry, the big distributors of fish are the main customers for many fishing companies, not the local receiver. This is making increasing demands on the fishing companies, and most people in the industry are concerned about their ability to compete in the future.
We see it clearly in the increase in the building of new fishing vessels during the past few years, the high demand for newer second hand vessels and the demand for Scanmar products.
What has this got to do with the Bible and the Textbook? Everything. During the almost 40 years, in collecting information by speaking to fishermen and going to sea, we have made observations, many, that will materialize in new sensors and display solutions. The target is to simplify everything and deliver information that will help the skipper to quickly make the correct decisions.
A couple of new sensors, ten patents, and closer contact with the skippers and owners due to the new technology, will be a great step forward. A step that will fulfill the fishermen’s wish for increased catches, improved quality and better prices, in addition to reduced costs.
Thanks to very long and close contacts with the world’s fishing fleet.