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An unusual-looking supertrawler currently working in the Minch is carrying out survey work on behalf of her operators.

The Dirk Dirk has been operating east of Lewis since last week, with a crew change on Monday (September 16th) which included putting a surveyor aboard.

Dirk Dirk is a 95-metre factory ship operated by the Dutch company Parlevliet and Van der Plas, which specialises in supplying fish for human consumption to the low-income African market and to zoos around the world for fish-eating animals.

Their fleet includes eight vessels dedicated to pelagic fishing, where shoals of fish including herring are located with the help of echo-sounding equipment. Catch is frozen and stored on board to maximise freshness.

Their usual fishing grounds include areas west and north of the islands, in the North Atlantic and Arctic seas. The company’s website says: “We fish without causing damage to the seabed, and without disturbing the ecological system. We have built an excellent reputation for sustainable fishing, and are proud to have achieved MSC certification for our North Sea herring and North Atlantic herring fisheries.

“As an active member of the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association, we work closely together with international scientists, environmental organisations, governments and fisheries management bodies, to ensure that accurate research provides the information necessary to ensure sustainable fisheries and effective fish stock management, including the prevention of unintentional bycatch, in all waters where we operate.”

Pictures show Dirk Dirk’s survey track today (Thursday) (Marine Traffic) and a picture of the vessel taken in Stornoway harbour during Monday night’s crew change (Gordy Maclean).