The Icelandic fleet’s mackerel fishery in international waters has picked up over the last few days, supporting full production at Síldarvinnslan’s factories in eastern Iceland.
The 1100 tonnes landed by Bjarni Ólafsson earlier was followed by Börkur docking with a further 1600 tonnes.
‘Things started slowly. We had to do a lot of searching and fishing wasn’t great,’ said Börkur’s skipper Hálfdan Hálfdanarson.
‘Then about four days ago everything changed. We found marks of mackerel that were moving fast to the north and suddenly there was plenty to be seen. This is much larger fish and much better than the fish we had been getting before.’
He said that this is 460-480 gramme fish with little feed in it, while the pelagic vessels have been taking 200-300 tonne hauls for much shorter tows than previously.
‘This is ideal fish for production. The area were we are fishing is around 340 nautical miles from Neskaupstaður, and we are roughly 24 hours steaming home to land. As soon the news got out of good fishing, the number of fishing vessels there exploded,’ he said.
‘When we started steaming there were around 40 there. That’s the whole of the Icelandic and Faroese pelagic fleets, some Russians and one Norwegian. So there’s a lot going on in a small area. What we’re missing up there in the international zone is the summer weather, as the sea temperature is cool and there’s generally some wind blowing. Summer hasn’t reached there yet.’
Image: Helgi Freyr Ólason/Síldarvinnslan