Fishermen in northern Norway are reporting sightings of exceptional volumes of capelin along the entire coast from Lofoten to Vardø.
Kristian Kransvik, skipper of Knut Olav, said that these are very large amounts of capelin that are close to the coastline.
‘I have heard from older people who say that they have never experienced anything like this. There’s capelin close to the shore. There must have been a similar situation in the early 1970s, but this isn’t normal,’ Kristian Kransvik said,
Arnøytind’s skipper Torleif Olufsen is fishing for haddock fishing in eastern Finnmark waters and he reports much the same.
‘There’s a serious amount of capelin to see and I have never seen as many as this year. We see large amount wherever we are, so this is very special,’ he said, addind that he is also seeing many fin whales.
‘We are seeing pods of ten to fifteen animals everywhere, so this indicates that there is a lot of capelin that they are feeding on,’ he said.
According to the fishermen and industry organisation Fiskebåt, there is no correlation between what is observed at sea and the researchers’ conclusions when they gave their quota recommendations.
This year, the advice was for a quota of 62,000 tonnes of capelin in the Barents Sea, and researchers showed that the stock’s growth has been weak in recent years.
At the time, Fiskebåt expressed its disappointment, and stated its view that the researchers had been ultra-cautious.
Fiskebåt’s stock analyst Gjert Dingsør states that the fishermen’s observations are not abnormal in good capelin years, but this indicates that researchers have were incorrect in their estimate of how large the stock is.
‘This shows the consequences of a poor capelin survey, and it’s a great shame that the fishermen miss good opportunities to harvest a strong capelin stock,’ Gjert Dingsør said.