Netters Kap II and Brynjólfur, owned by Westman Islands company Vinnslustöðin, have been fishing well close to home this winter, with the bulk of catches going for saltfish production.
Since the beginning of the year the company’s saltfish production plant has taken delivery of around 1000 tonnes of cod, mainly from netters, but also from local trawlers.
‘We’re putting more emphasis on saltfish, especially since Vinnslustöðin acquired Portuguese saltfish producer Grupeixe. That means that we’re directly involved in production and sales to this important market,’ said Sverrir Haraldsson, who manages the company’s groundfish production. Production has been boosted with a new splitting machine, which has doubled throughput.
‘Fishing has been good, but the weather has held us up considerably.’
He commented that in the past a great many boats from the Westman Islands and other south coast ports spent the winter season netting, but now the only remaining netters in the Islands are the two Vinnslustöðin boats, and this method has also declined elsewhere.
‘Netting fits very conveniently with out fishing and production setup, which is why Vinnslustöðin stays with it,’ he said.
‘Fishing grounds are close by, so fuel costs for steaming and fishing are low and operating costs are less than with other methods, such as longlining.’
He added that fishing gear has much shorter soak times that was usual in the past.
‘The nets are in the water over a tide or over dawn or dusk, and hauled a few hours later. So the gear is used in much the same way as longlines. This provides us with fresh, top-quality raw material, suitable for many processing methods, but mostly salted.’