Westman Islands fishing company Vinnslustöðin (VSV) has received its first landings of herring this autumn, and the mackerel season has come to an close.
The Icelandic herring season has been an unusual one this year, although VSV took delivery of a record 19,000 tonnes of mackerel, compared to 15,000 tonnes last year.
‘We’re keeping an eye on the Russians, Faroese and Norwegians. They’re not getting any mackerel at the moment, but if it looks like there’s a chance of the fishing returning, then we’ll be back on it, no question,’ said Sindri Viðarsson, head of VSV’s pelagic division.
‘This year’s mackerel season was a long one. It stated off well around the Islands and the fish disappeared on our home grounds and we were fishing up in the Loophole in August. It’s clearly a more expensive way to operate than if the fish had remained inside the Icelandic EEZ, and the quality of the fish was poorer than it had been when they were around the Islands in the summer.’
VSV managing director Sigurgeir B. Kristgeirsson commented that it has been a difficult season, as the fleet has had to steam long distances, and has been fishing lower quality raw material.
‘The long steaming times to bring catches to port has the result that a lower proportion than usual of mackerel is sold at top prices for human consumption. It´s a complicated situation right now,’ he said.Now the VSV factory is working on herring, with the first landing of the year last week and the company’s vessels fishing off eastern Iceland.