A factory ship is a type of ship that is used to freeze and process the fishes caught from oceans. The idea of the factory ships originated from the whaler concept of ships. Since the processing and preserving of fishes have to be done in an appropriate time and manner, the factory ships are installed with all the necessary equipments and facilities to aid the process.
Whalers were ships that were used mainly for the purpose of processing the required parts of a whale, i.e. oil, skin to name a few. But since the excessive usage of such whaler ships led to the cause of problems for the whale population, the usage of these ships was reduced slowly.
Factory ships, in addition to being a single concentrated processing place for fishes also function as a ship which carries other smaller fishing ships. The factory ships which work in such a manner are known as mother ships. The smaller fishing ships return to the larger ships with their haul of fish for further processing purposes.
One type of the factory ship is fishing trawler or the factory trawler. The factory trawler catches the fish and then with help of the facilities equipped within it, processes the caught haul appropriately. Such factory trawlers can remain in the waters for about six to seven weeks.
Another type of fishing trawler is the factory stern trawler which has a trawler towed or attached to it specifically for the purpose of fishing. The main feature about this type of fishing trawler is that the stern and other trawlers towed to are placed side-by-side with a fishing net separating them. The net ensures the catch of the fishes while the trawlers move in the water. Such positioning of the trawlers is known as paired trawling. The distance between the two trawlers is around 500 metres in the water.
The largest factory trawler that is in operation today is the Atlantic Dawn which measures around 144-metres long that operates in the French waters.
In the initial days, there were factory ships that were operated majorly by Russia, Japan and Korea. But due to a loss of the marine eco-system from excessive fishing activity, the factory ships operated by these countries have reduced drastically. However, at the same time the factory ships that were started to operate by USA have gone up considerably.
It is a known fact that large scale utilisation of such factory ships will definitely lead to a decline in the population of other marine mammals. This is why awareness is needed about factory ships in order to preserve the marine life-forms.