First fish of the season landed in Neskaupstaður
Margrét landing the first herring and mackerel of the year to Síldarvinnslan’s Neskaupstaður factory. Image: Síldarvinnslan/Hákon Ernuson

First fish of the season landed in Neskaupstaður

The first landing of 250 tonnes of mixed herring and mackerel of the summer season has been landed to Síldarvinnslan’s processing plant in Neskaupstaður.

Pelagic vessel Margrét landed this fish after a short trip off the east of Iceland.

According to skipper Guðmundur Th Jónsson, they didn’t have to go far to find fish, but there was heavy weather.

‘The mackerel are on the way, but heavily mixed with herring. Around 70% of this fish is herring,’ he said, adding that this was a trip to fetch fish to test the factory.

Síldarvinnslan has added to its pelagic processing setup, installing new weighing equipment, and upgrading sections of the processing lines, including installing two fully automatic Baader filleting machines.

‘This was just a test trip so there would be fish to try out the equipment in the factory. I’m optimistic about the season,’ he said. ‘I’m reckon this is going to be an excellent mackerel season.’

Síldarvinnslan’s own pelagic vessels will be heading for the fishing grounds this coming weekend.

Margrét also landed the last blue whiting of the season to Síldarvinnslan’s fishmeal plant last week with a 1500 tonne landing after a trip in Faroese waters.

The company’s two factories in Neskaupstaður and Seyðisfjörður have this year taken delivery of 71,000 tonnes of blue whiting, all of which has been processed for fishmeal and fish oil.

This year Beitir landed 16,070 tonnes, Börkur landed 17,497 tonnes and Bjarni Ólafsson landed 14,731 tonnes of blue whiting. In addition, Margrét landed 13,731 tonnes to Síldarvinnslan and Hákon landed11,183 tonnes, as well as freezing part of its catch at sea.

The Icelandic fleet has this year caught 181,761 tonnes of its blue whiting quota, with 65,132 tonnes still to be caught in 2020. With the pelagic fleet preparing for the summer herring and mackerel fisheries, fishing for blue whiting is expected to resume around the end of the year.

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