The fishery for nephrops (langoustine) off the south of Iceland is a shadow of what it once was, but this year’s modest fishery has got off to a good start.
‘The season has started better than we had dared to hope and it’s encouraging to see there are some small langoustine in the catch. The stock crash is down to low recruitment, so these small langoustine are a sign of better time to come for the stock,’ said Sverrir Haraldsson, manager of Westman Islands company Vinnslustöðin’s (VSV) demersal division.
‘All the same, we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions,‘ he added.
VSV’s trawlers Drangavík and Brynjólfur started fishing at the end of April and have each landed twice so far, having worked traditional langoustine grounds that can be expected to shift westwards by June. In resent years fishing has mainly been in the Eldey region.
The largest langoustine tear was 2250 tonnes, back in 2010-11. The langoustine stock declined significantly some years ago without a clear explanation for why this happened.
Quotas have been kept low in recent years, just enough to allow a minimal fishery to monitor the stock’s status. This year the quota is 143 tonnes, and VSV has a 19% share – giving the company roughly 30 tonnes of langoustine this year.
For the next few weeks Drangavík and Brynjólfur will continue to fish on smaller tides, and Sverrir Haraldsson said that Inga P is expected to continue trials this year with an experimental trap fishery for langoustine in waters off western Iceland that began in 2020.
‘Inga P is in dry dock at the moment, but we expect to pick up where we left off last autumn when the trap fishery for langoustine in Breiðafjörður was successful beyond our expectations.’