Westmann Islands netter Kap II has been fishing well this summer, having caught 300 tonnes of Greenland halibut since the beginning of July on grounds off the east of Iceland.
This is a new departure for operating company Vinnslustöðin (VSV), which has not had one of its boats fishing with gill nets for many years, and this is also the the first time in recent years that the company has processed Greenland halibut at its factory.
It wasn’t an easy start, as it took a while for Kap II to be fitted out for netting, but since then fishing has been very good, with landings twice a week in the east coast of Eskifjörður, normally with around 20 tonnes per landing.
According to skipper Kristgeir Arnar Ólafsson, fishing went so well at the outset that the decision was to scale the gear down from ten to six fleets of 70 nets.
‘We had some fantastic fishing this summer, much better than we had expected. At its best we had 84 tubs (28 tonnes) from 75 nets. The fishing has slowed down, but we are still doing well,’ he said.
‘There weren’t many of the crew who had tasted Greenland halibut until now, and it was a surprise how good it tastes. So now we have it all the time.’
Greenland halibut are sold whole and fresh, shipped either direct from Eskifjörður or via Reykjavík to France. Part of the catch is also shipped to the VSV factory in the Westmann Islands and frozen for the Asian market.
‘Greenland halibut is is a fine quality, high-value fish. In fact this isn’t the best time of year to be selling it, but it’s still going well,’ commented Sverrir Haraldsson who manages VSV’s demersal division.
‘There are good markets for this frozen and fresh and it also helps that we have built up our own overseas sales network to handle this,’ he said.