‘Next year’s going to be a nightmare,’ said Friðleifur Einarsson, skipper of Brim’s fresher trawler Helga María, warning that a sharp reduction in the 2022-23 quota year’s redfish allowable catch will turn redfish into a choke species.
‘This (2021-22) quota year has been a tough one for us. We’re steadily using up our redfish quota to get the saithe we’re allowed to catch. But look what’s coming. A 20% reduction in the redfish quota next year is going to be a complete nightmare. We could understand this if the redfish stock was in trouble. But that’s not the case at all. There’s redfish everywhere, and plenty of it.’
Helga María docked earlier this week with 150-160 tonnes on board. He said that the trip began off the Westfjords, first in the Víkuráll Gully, before shifting to the Hali grounds and finally the Nes Deeps.
‘There was redfish in the Víkuráll Gully and on the Hali grounds, and we finished the trip down south on the Mountains. We were hoping for saithe, but there was only redfish on the Mountains. We managed to pull together a total of 35 tonnes of saithe for the trip and had around 40 tonnes of cod. The rest was redfish and mixed fish,’ he said.
There wasn’t a crowd on the fishing grounds and Friðleifur Einarsson said that there was one longliner working on the Mountains when Helga María arrived.
‘It seems that most of the fleet is taking a summer break. Mainly because their quotas are tight and they’ve already run out of redfish quota,’ he said.