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Fishing Trawlers: Various Types & Configurations

Trawlers are fishing vessels that operate commercially using fishing trawls or nets. Its name is derived from the type of net which is used. A trawl is a conical net which catches fish when dragged through the water at a specific depth or along the bottom of the ocean or sea. These trawlers can be classified depending on the type of net, number of nets, and where it's being used in the water. Here's a look at the various types of trawlers.

Beam Trawler

The beam trawler has a metal beam at its mouth to hold it open. It drags along the bottom of the ocean or sea and it's quite destructive. A form of bottom trawling, the trawler works by digging up the ground, picking up not only fish like shrimps or flat fish but also shells and corals.

Freezer Trawler

These are the most popular and widely used fishing trawlers. They have provisions to store the fish on board by freezing them. Freezer trawlers can vary from medium to large size with the mechanism being side or stern trawlers.

Naval Trawler

Similar to a fishing trawler, this trawler was specifically built by the navy. It was used largely during the world wars. Trawlers were preferred as they were sturdier, suitable for all weathers, providing a huge deck space. The fishing trawl could also be converted to a mine sweeper. Guns in the bows and depth charge racks were added to the trawler.

Otter Trawler

Used primarily by the Dutch, otter trawlers have two otter boards attached to the sides of the boat. When in water, the boards move away from each other, opening up the net horizontally. These can be small to large-sized boats and the nets can be dragged mid-water or at the bottom of the ocean or sea.

Outrigger Trawler

Outrigger trawlers use bows or outriggers to haul in the trawl. These are attached to the base of the mast, extending on each side of the trawler. On each side, it's possible to have a single or double trawl.

Pair Trawler

The pair trawler consists of two trawlers towing one trawl. The two trawlers maintain a distance which opens up the net horizontally. Pair trawlers are usually mid-water or bottom trawls. With no otter boards, it uses only one warp and one winch though some may use two warps and winches.

Side Trawler

As the name suggests, the trawl is placed on the side of the boat between the blocks attached to the forward and aft gallows. The side trawler was very popular until the late 1960's but it has evolved through the years. Though it's still in use, the side trawler is slowly being replaced by the stern trawler.

Stern Trawler

The trawl here is fixed to the stern. It may or may not have a ramp as per the size of the trawler. These are suitable for any weather condition. Stern trawlers can be used for mid-water level or bottom trawling. They can also be used as pair trawlers with two vessels towing one or more trawls.

Wet Fish Trawler

Wet fish trawlers are specially designed vessels with a hold to keep the fish fresh or "wet". For this reason, the trawlers cannot operate too far away from the place of landing so the fishing time is quite limited.

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