Blue whiting – Drifting in the grey zone
Síldarvinnslan’s pelagic vessel Beitir is among those waiting for the blue whiting migration. Image: Síldarvinnslan

Blue whiting – Drifting in the grey zone

A fleet of pelagic vessels is sitting in the grey zone at the southern end of the Faroese EEZ, waiting for the blue whiting to make its usual appearance on its northward migration.

‘We’re all drifting here,’ said Tómas Kárason, skipper of Síldarvinnslan’s pelagic vessel Beitir.
‘The fleet is well spread out and there’s nothing happening. There could be a few more days before the blue whiting migrate into the area, but there have been reports of good fishing in the Scottish zone. We’re waiting for the fish to migrate north. Fishing normally begins around this time, but this is no surprise. When the fish show up on these grounds can vary from year to year. We’re patient, watching and waiting. That’s all we can do.’

‘We’ve been here for five days and haven’t shot the gear yet. The blue whiting still haven’t turned up,’ said Theódór Thórðarson, skipper of Brim’s Venus. The company’s two pelagic vessels, Venus and Víkingur, are among the fleet at the southern end of the Faroese EEZ, waiting for the blue whiting.

He said that the expectation has been that fishing would start around the 9-12th of April, but for some reason this year’s migration appears to be later than usual.

‘I don’t know if it’s because we were fishing for blue whiting unusually far south off Ireland during the winter, but for whatever reason, the fish haven’t shown up yet this far north. We know that there has been fishing off St Kilda which is around a hundred nautical miles to the south and earlier in the week we had reports of fishing fifty miles south of our present position.

The Norwegians who had been fishing around St Kilda are finishing one by one, but we just have to be patient and wait.’

He said that the last few days have been spent in a widespread search, and many vessels have simply been drifting.

‘There are quite a few here, Icelandic Faroese and Russian vessels, and the Russians have been drifting as they wait. That’s something we’ve not seen before and is an indication of the situation these days,’ Theódór Thórðarson said.