Napier fishing fleet giant off to Kiribati

Ships approaching Tarawa

The biggest trawler fishing out of Napier for most of the last two decades has been sold to a partnership between the government of Kiribati and Auckland business interests.

The sale was confirmed to Hawke’s Bay Today by Napier businessman Rodney Green, a part-owner for about five years.

A 31-metre stern trawler, the Pacific Explorer was built in Germany in 1983, and brought from Peru to Hawke’s Bay by fisherman Chris Robinson’s Pacific Trawling in 2005.

It was sold in 2012 to Explorer Fishing Ltd to fish for Hawke’s Bay Seafoods, and, having been converted to longline fishing, worked significantly off the Chatham Islands, with a skipper, engineer and crew totalling up to 11 on board.

Former Hawke’s Bay Seafoods owner Nino D’Esposito said fishing times had become too difficult to operate a vessel of Pacific Explorer’s size out of Napier.

Trips to the Chathams, with fuel, bait and stores, could cost up to $100,000 “before any fish were caught”.

It was the biggest fishing vessel operating out of Napier apart from the three years of the Glomfjord, a 34m stern trawler built in 1992 and brought from Denmark to New Zealand in 2017 in a joint venture between Hawke’s Bay Seafoods and Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc.

It was also sold abroad and, now, known as the Dona Jane, fishes out of Cape Town, South Africa. The biggest fishing boat still operating out of Napier is now thought to be the Sidina, at 21m.