Mackerel on the move

Mackerel on the move

Iceland’s mackerel season has extended longer into the summer than usual and the indications are there that it could go well into the autumn.

‘This season seems to be stretching further into autumn than the last few years’ seasons have. This time last year the fleet was fishing a long way to the east,’ said Hjörvar Hjálmarsson, skipper of Síldarvinnslan’s Börkur while he was in the queue to land at Neskaupstaður. Bjarni Ólafsson was in front with 520 tonnes to be landed before Börkur’s 650 tonne trip could be pumped ashore.

‘We had this in three tows east of Hvalbak,’ he said.

‘The fish are coming off the land and are feeding there. Mackerel are fish that are sometimes seen in large amounts and sometimes not at all. They swim fast and can vanish and then appear from nowhere,’ he said.

HB Grandi’s pelagic vessels have been fishing in the same area and skipper Róbert Axelsson on board Venus reported that they are steaming to land at Vopnafjörður with 900 tonnes, of which 420 tonnes were taken in a single tow south-east of Hvalbak, while sister vessel Víkingur landed 840 tonnes at the beginning of the week and is back at sea.

‘There’s mackerel over a very wide area, south of where we are and all the way northwards along the east coast. You see a decent mark and try to keep an eye on it, but there’s no chance of getting in front of the fish to shoot against them. They’re moving much too quickly for that. It’s a fantastic sight to see them,’ he said.

‘We have also seen promising marks of mackerel that we haven’t shot away on during the night as that’s when the herring rise closer to the surface and we want to avoid getting herring as a by-catch. Then in the morning the mackerel can be gone. As the fleet gets smaller, the more difficult it becomes to locate mackerel and keep track of them,’ he said.