Iceland’s Marine and Freshwater Research Institute has identified a large volume of spawning capelin off the north coast that had not been present during previous surveys, and has stated that this is grounds to increase this season’s capelin quota significantly.
The Institute’s latest recommendation is for a 459,800 tonne TAC, which is a 184,100 tonne increase on its previous advice – with the proviso that the bulk of catches from the additional quota should be taken off the north coast, reflecting the capelin distribution.
The recommendation is that at least 122,700 tonnes of the 184,100 tonne additional quota should be caught off the north coast, where the Institute expects these fish to spawn, reducing pressure on the stocks spawning off the west and south of the country and minimising negative effects on recruitment.
This additional volume of capelin was located by research vessel Árni Friðriksson during a survey carried out 12-21st of this month. This is 3-4 year-old capelin, reported to be almost ready to spawn, with a 16% roe content at the southern edge of the area and 12% further offshore.
Fishing and processing company Síldarvinnslan responded to the announcement by de-mothballing pelagic vessel Bjarni Ólafsson, which has been tied up since August last year, and pulling together a crew and collecting its capelin purse seine from the Hampiðjan net loft.
Bjarni Ólafsson’s crew transferred last year to Barði before the start of the last mackerel season. A fresh crew under skipper Atli Rúnar Eysteinsson are already at sea, with Bjarni Ólafsson’s former skipper Runólfur Runólfsson on board to provide help and support as they start fishing.