The first landing of capelin of this season to Síldarvinnslan’s Neskaupstaður processing plant has been completed.
After a difficult start to the season with the capelin sitting deep, below the range of purse seine gear, plus bouts of heavy weather across fishing grounds to the north of Iceland as the capelin begin their migration eastwards, Bjarni Ólafsson docked a few hours ago with 1600 tonnes in its tanks.
Fishing has been made easier as one of the first actions by Iceland’s new minister for fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir was to sign off an alteration to regulations, licensing pelagic vessels to use trawl gear in areas that had been limited only purse seine fishing, allowing the fleet to target marks sitting too deep for pursing.
Bjarni Ólafsson’s catch was taken in eight tows around 45 nautical miles north of Melrakkaslétta.
This was also skipper Thorkell Pétursson’s first trip as skipper for capelin, and he commented that there is capelin to be seen on the fishing grounds.
‘Fishing is practically all in daylight. You can tow in the dark, but there’s not much to be had. Our largest haul was 400 tonnes. It’s good quality capelin, from 36 up to 48 pieces per kilo. We’re optimistic for the rest of the season and hoping that the capelin starts on its usual migration pattern,’ he said.
‘The weather worsened yesterday, so we decided to call it a day even though we weren’t completely full. We’ll discharge and head straight back out again. There’s no way we can take things easy with a season like this ahead of us. There’s plenty of work ahead of us.’
Reports from north coast are that the rest of the pelagic fleet is fishing and Síldarvinnslan’s other vessels, Börkur, Beitir and Barði have all started well.