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a commercial fishing vessel designed for catching fish and other marine life with a trawl and for the primary processing of the catch.
Until the mid–20th century, trawlers were built with one deck, and the trawl was lowered and hauled up from the side. Such ships were called side trawlers. Most trawlers built since the 1960’s have two decks, and the mechanisms for lowering, raising, and towing the trawl are installed at the stern; the ships are called stern trawlers. Trawlers are equipped with trawl winches; up to 4,000 m of trawl line wound around the drums of the winches makes it possible to fish at depths of up to 2 km; the power of the winch engines may reach 450 kilowatts (kW). The trawl is raised onto the ship’s stern slipway, or ramp. The processing equipment of a trawler includes machines and mechanized lines for gutting and cleaning the fish, sometimes for canning, and for the production of fish meal and oil from the wastes. The holds have refrigerators for freezing the fish and for preserving the products. Most present-day trawlers have fish-finding equipment and instruments for controlling the trawl, which makes it possible to direct the movement of the trawl in the water and to guide it toward concentrations of fish.
The largest trawlers are built (1976) in the USSR and Japan. They are 100–110 m long, with a displacement of 7,000–8,000 tons; their main engines have a power of 4.5 MW, giving them a cruising speed of more than 25 km/hr. Seiner-trawlers, which have become widespread, can catch fish both with a trawl and with a purse seine.
V. V. RANENKO