Fishing has been steady, but the Icelandic fleet’s blue whiting season looks to be coming to a close, with the Seamen’s Day stopover due in early June marking the point at which much of the pelagic fleet starts fitting out for the summer herring and mackerel fisheries.
According to Síldarvinnslan, the blue whiting season has gone very well. Its two pelagic vessels Börkur and Beitir have between them fished approximately 17,000 tonnes of blue whiting and are now in their last trip. Síldarvinnslan’s fishmeal factories in Neskaupstaður and Seyðisfjördir have also received landings of blue whiting from Vilhelm Thorsteinsson, Hákon and Bjarni Ólafsson.
HB Grandi’s pelagic vessel Víkingur is steaming to Vopnafjördur with a full payload of blue whiting on board. The fish were caught mainly west of the Faroe Islands and a fleet is fishing there now.
‘I can’t say that the fishing is buzzing, but it’s steady. We have been getting 300 and 400 tonne hauls after towing for 18 hours, which is much the same as what everyone else has been getting,’ said skipper Albert Sveinsson, adding that the trip has been a week, with long distances to steam to and from fishing grounds.
He said that the trip started east of the Faroes, but they moved in response to news of catches further west.
‘The blue whiting seem to be shifting northwards and we’re catching fish on mainly the same areas. The fish concentrate where the currents meet, presumably attracted by the feed there, and sometimes it can be tight on a small patch of sea when there are plenty of fishing vessels chasing the same fish,’ he said.
HB Grandi’s blue whiting quota is getting used up and Albert Sveinsson said that he expected one more trip before the Seamen’s Day break in early June. Sister ship Venus is currently on the slipway. The remaining blue whiting quota will be kept back to cover any possible by-catches of blue whiting taken during the mackerel and herring fishing in the summer and autumn, or with a directed fishery on blue whiting at the end of the year.