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No capelin, as first blue whiting landed

Published by FiskerForum, 20-02-2019 · info@fiskerforum.dk

While the capelin fishery that traditionally takes place in the early part of the year has not happened so far, with surveys looking for capelin still in progress, the first blue whiting of the year has been landed to Icelandic fishmeal plants.

Last week Norwegian pelagic vessel Manon landed 1900 tonnes of blue whiting to Síldarvinnslan’s Neskaupstaður factory, and was followed by the company’s own vessels, first Börkur with 2300 tonnes and then Bjarni Ólafsson made the first landing of the year to the Seyðisfjörður plant with 1800 tonnes.

According to Börkur’s skipper Hjörvar Hjálmarsson, their trip was six hauls taken on fishing grounds 300 nautical miles south of Rockall, making the trip home 790 miles.

‘It’s a hell of a long way. Of course we should be fishing capelin right now instead of blue whiting down there,’ he said, commenting that steaming back out to fishing grounds west of Ireland, they passed over capelin marks over a wide area off eastern Iceland.

‘There are also reports of capelin on the Workingman’s Bank south by the Faroese line, and I’ve never heard of capelin that far south,’ he said.

‘So far it hasn’t been possible to survey enough capelin for a quota to be issued, but I’m confident it will be. There’s no point being anything other than optimistic.’

HB Grandi’s pelagic vessel Venus has also been on blue whiting in the absence of capelin, and landed its first first payload of the year to the company’s factory in Vopnafjörður, finishing up with a three-day, 800 nautical mile return trip.

‘There’s fishing there at the moment. The best fishing is overnight, and during the day the blue whiting are dispersed. The length of tow varies, depending on the catch rate and the weather. Conditions have been changeable and there was bad weather for the last 24 hours. The weather there is fine at the moment, but there’s no way to tell how long it will last,’ said skipper Guðlaugur Jónsson as Venus was steaming home. He estimated the catch was 2600 to 2700 tonnes for four days on the fishing grounds.

He said that there is a large number of vessels fishing for blue whiting.

‘We were lucky in that we didn’t have to wait to get started. Things are crowded down there, but we were able to start fishing as soon as we arrived on the fishing grounds,’ Guðlaugur Jónsson said.

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