Innovative New Brunswick-made fishing boat talk of trade show
Company establishing production plant in Dalhousie
As the crowd milled about the Moncton Coliseum floor, one attraction at the Fish Canada Workboat Canada trade show kept reeling in onlookers.
A new fishing boat with lofty goals of transforming the industry, and bringing much-needed jobs to northern New Brunswick, drew plenty of eyes Friday during the first day of Canada's largest commercial marine trade show,
The Pro Cat stood out because it's a catamaran, a double-hull, composite vessel that looks nothing like traditional fishing boats in the region, or on the showroom floor.
The 32-by-16-foot vessel is said to be a more stable and speedier option — with a top speed of 38 knots — ready to hit the market.
Michel Pachiaudo, vice-president of Pro Cat, said the design catches some fishermen off guard.
"Everybody does the same thing, year after year," Pachiaudo said. "Things are from the '70s with no innovation, no engineering, so maybe this is a little bit risky, but why not be risky to bring something good to people?"
He said the stability and speed comes from its catamaran design, which moves on the water rather than pushing through it like a monohull vessel.
Tom Duym, a prospective buyer from Maine, was a little skeptical about the design. "It's different," he said.
"It really could make an interesting addition to the fleet," Duym said. "So I'm anxious to look it over and see what it's like."
The company says the average age of fishing vessels on the East Coast is roughly 27 years, meaning there's going to be demand for new boats. Pachiaudo said buyers are often waitlisted two to three years before their order is filled.
But the company has a plan for that.
"We are mounting an assembly line that works like the automotive industry and that assembly line, when it's all set up, we can put out the door one boat per week," he said.
That assembly line is being established in Dalhousie.
Magguy Thibodeau, who founded Pro Cat, said the northern New Brunswick town was a good fit because of its deepwater port.
She said there are a handful of employees setting up the plant, but that number will grow to more than 50.
Although the Pro Cat is geared for the fishing industry, Pachiaudo said it can be used as a commuter, crane boat, fire boat, tour boat and even military transport.
The Pro Cat will be on display at the Moncton Coliseum on Saturday, the final day of the trade show.
With files from Shane Fowler