Hampiðjan has developed a headline sounder cable with fibre-optic data transfer capacity. Image: Hampiðjan

Fishing gear group Hampiðjan aims to enable a new generation of fishing gear technology with its DynIce Optical Data cable. This brings fibre-optic speed to the data transfer from headline sonar to wheelhouse, representing a technological leap from the conventional copper cable technology currently in use.

The DynIce Optical Data cable is now on board pelagic vessel Beitir for testing at sea. Image: Síldarvinnslan

The DynIce Optical Data cable has been in development for some years and with the problems of protecting the delicate fibres optics from tension and bending stresses solved, this is now on its way to Síldarvinnslan’s pelagic vessel Beitir (ex-Gitte Henning) for testing at sea.

The 10gb/second speed of data transfer via the DynIce Optical Data cable far outstrips conventional cable technology that has been around for many years, and opens up a host of opportunities for making full use of the sophisticated fishing gear electronics that have in recent years been struggling with the standard transfer capacity.

It also brings within reach technologies such as real-time video feeds from fishing gear and imaging and potential high-efficiency selection of catches in the fishing gear.

The DynIce Optical Data cable has been in development for some years, and Hampiðjan has applied for patents on both this and a number of other aspects that have been part of the development, according to the company’s CEO Hjörtur Erlendsson, who added that technical development fund Rannís has provided a great deal of support – and the development process has been both demanding and has called for some hefty investment.

Hampiðjan CEO Hjörtur Erlendsson and development manager Jón Atli Magnússon with the first drum of DynIce Optical Data cable produced by the Hampiðjan Baltic factory. Image: Hampiðjan

Breaking through the data bottleneck

The expected arrival of DynIce Optical Data is already changing the way electronics developers are working as the bottleneck that has hampered development to data is opened up.

‘We have been working with Simrad in Canada and the focus of much of the development has been on getting data from the trawl sensors to the catching vessel, gathering and collecting data in such a way that it can be sent in the smallest possible packets so that it can be sent through the usual copper wire,’ said Hampiðjan’s development manager Jón Atli Magnússon.

‘Once they saw the possibilities that Hampiðjan’s DynIce Optical Data offers, they did an about-face and changed their development priorities, as with that particular bottleneck no longer there to present an obstacle, a direct feed opens up. So the bottleneck is moved elsewhere; any limitations become those of the sensors themselves and not the data transfer capability.’

According to Hjörtur Erlendsson, skippers have shown particular interest in being able to observe fish behaviour, and real-time data streaming direct from a trawl to a screen in the wheelhouse has been a dream for a long time.

He commented that trawl-mounted cameras are already used to gather data on gear performance and fish behaviour, and this is an increasingly important tool for Hampiðjan.

‘It’s in every skipper’s interest to have the best possible information available,’ Hjörtur Erlendsson said. ‘And it’s in our interest to have access to that data so that we can provide them with the best fishing gear.’

For the full story of the DynIce Optical Data cable, check out the August issue of Hook & Net