Capelin have been migrating rapidly along the south coast over the last few days. Challenging weather conditions and the accompanying delays to fishing have meant that it hasn’t been easy to track the fish and to be sure exactly where they are.
At least part of the migration has now made its way into Faxa Bay and all of Brim’s pelagic vessels plus Guðrún Thorkelsdóttir are fishing there.
‘The capelin have clearly pushed their way fast westwards along the south coast and right now there’s no fishing off the South-East. There were a few Norwegian vessels fishing off Hvalbakur, but they aren’t allowed to work much further south,’ said Svanur’s skipper Hjalti Einarsson, as he was fishing not far off Malarrif and catches were on the slow side.
‘It’s not easy to figure out the capelin’s behaviour. They are very dispersed in the dark so there’s no fishing then, but they tighten up during the day and if you’re lucky, you can hit a decent mark. It’s a big area with not many of us fishing here at the moment, but I’m sure there’s capelin further to the north.’
He said that Svanur had around 700 tonnes of capelin on board by this afternoon. These are predominantly female fish with a count of 41 to 42 per kilo and a 20% roe content.
‘We saw a slightly higher roe content a few days ago, but it seems to me that we’re not far off roe extraction and freezing being able to start up. We won’t have long to wait,’ he said, although the roe content alone doesn’t tell the whole story. The maturity of the roe also plays a vital role and roe extraction and freezing for the Japanese market doesn’t get going until the all-important 23% figure has been reached.
‘There aren’t many of us here so far. The rest of the pelagic fleet is fishing west of Thorlákshöfn,’ Hjalti Einarsson said.