Pelagic vessel Kap landed 1200 tonnes of capelin to Vinnslustöðin’s plant in the Westman Islands on Friday, according to Sindri Viðarsson who heads the company’s pelagic division.
‘I’ll be satisfied if we can get 150 tonnes of roe out of it,’ he said.
As the weekend approached, Kap was already back at sea, Ísleifur had just finished landing and the company pelagic factory was a hive of activity. The final stages of any capelin season go fast, and this is also the most valuable part of the season as the high-value roe-bearing capelin are landed.
Shifts at Vinnslustöðin’s plant are working around the clock, and the automated systems make the process seamless, while exceptionally high hygiene demands are met through the production cycle.
The fish are processed in drums in which the roe is extracted. Roes are then cleaned before they end up in tubs where they are allowed to stand for water to drain away before going to the packing process. The whole process takes 10-12 hours before the roes are on their way to be frozen. A lot has changed since capelin roe were first processed in Iceland in 1971-72, when capelin roe was collected on sacks before being cleaned and dried.
Most of the capelin roe produced by Vinnslustöðin goes to its part-owned subsidiary Marhólmar, which uses it to manufacture masago, which is widely used in sushi production.
Main image, Kap steaming in to the Westman Islands with a cargo of roe-bearing capelin. Image: Thomas Köhn/Marhólmar