With uncertainty over this year’s capelin season, with a relatively small initial quota and doubt over the state of the stock, pelagic vessels in Iceland started this year on blue whiting and are fishing south-east of the Faroe Islands.
Börkur’s skipper Hálfdan Hálfdanarson reported steady fishing before the weekend, and plenty of activity.
‘The fishing grounds are around 70 nautical miles south-east of Suðuroy,’ he said, adding that as well as the other Síldarvinnslan vessels, Beitir and Barði, a substantial fleet is at work.
‘The Faroese fleet is here and a growing number of Icelandic pelagic vessels. We’ve only seen two Russians, and there have always been more in the past. We can’t complain about the weather and it’s been calm since we arrived. It looks like a good start and we hope it stays this way.’
While Icelandic vessels are sticking with blue whiting, Greenlandic pelagic vessel Polar Ammassak, partly owned by Síldarvinnslan, started fishing on capelin last week and is fishing solo for the moment after shooting away 80 nautical miles north-east of Langanes on Friday.
‘We started with a 100-tonne haul and since then have been getting 300-350 tonnes in each tow,’ said skipper Sigurður Grétar Guðmundsson.
‘There have been five hauls so far, towed for six to ten hours. We have 1400 tonnes on board and it’s beautiful quality capelin, 35-37 pieces per kilo. We’re working alone and haven’t needed to search. We found a mark, shot away, and have been in the same area all the time,’ he said, commenting that the capelin marks appear to be tighter during darkness than in the daylight.
‘There are small marks to be seen, no big shoals, but they’re delivering. This capelin season looks pretty good and no reason to be anything other than optimistic,’ he said, adding that they expect to land to Síldarvinnslan today.