Aker BioMarine is harvesting krill in the wilderness of Antarctica. Here fishermen are operating in tough conditions while experiencing beautiful nature and fishery offered by the sea. Former captain, Frank Grebstad, takes a look back at his time on our vessels, Saga Sea and Antarctic Sea.
I´ve been a fisherman all my life
Ever since I was 12 years old, and allowed to come along for a short trip onboard the fishing vessel were my father worked, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. So, I started as a 16-year-old Mess-boy on one of Norway’s filet factory trawlers, then working in the factory as a processor, before moving on to the trawl deck as a deckhand and deciding to start my nautical education.
After years of fishing in Norway and New Zealand, I got a job with Kjell Inge Røkke´s Seattle based American Seafoods Company in 1995. Ever since then I have worked in various KIR controlled projects, onboard lots of different vessels, fishing in different waters.
After more than 30 years as a fisherman, last year I accepted an offer to become the Operation Manager for Aker BioMarine’s Offshore Fleet, and started my first ever shore-based job.
Looking back at my time at sea, I take pride in quite a few things. One is to be able to call myself an International Fisherman. I have been fortunate enough to have fished in so many different waters and continents including the Barents Sea, Norwegian Sea, North Atlantic Sea, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk and the waters of New Zealand. I´ve fished in ice-covered waters and warmer waters, and they have all had their challenges and attractions, but common to them all is that the view at sea, pretty much consists of a flat horizon.
One continent stands out though; Antarctica!
Without comparison, Antarctica has been the most fascinating and enthralling place I have ever fished. Suddenly the horizon that used to be flat, is filled with huge icebergs and mountains. All the time whilst being constantly surrounded by the vast wildlife of Antarctica; albatrosses, petrels, penguins, seals and whales, which at times can completely take your breath away. Several days away from civilization, you are doing 12 hours shifts in the wheelhouse from morning to evening. In harsh conditions one are navigating and fishing with Norway´s largest and most advanced fishing vessels. Even so, I must admit that having Antarctica´s magnificent wildlife, views, sunrise and sunset, has been a huge factor for always wanting to come back.
Watch this amazing footage filmed by Frank from Antarctica.
Fishermen – a dedicated and innovative group
Another thing I am proud to look back at is to have been part of one of the most dedicated, innovative and competitive group of people; The Fishermen! The kind of people that will always push each other for the best result. The kind that never steps down from a challenge. The kind that always wants to raise the bar, no matter what the expectations are. It is because of these people we were able to develop Eco-Harvesting. Because of their innovative mindset and desire to do better, we developed Saga Sea to be the first twin-pelagic trawler with continuous pumping system. And it is because of their dedication to success we made Antarctic Sea the most efficient Krill Harvesting Vessel in the world.
So even if I have spent my last day as part of a crew, and no longer able to call myself a Captain, I still answer proudly whenever asked what I am doing:
I am a Fisherman!