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Greenland halibut scarce

‘We’re well off the north coast about 40 nautical miles north-west of Kolbeinsey. We’ve been in this area for a couple of days with the intention of searching for Greenland halibut, but unfortunately fishing has been slow,’ said Trausti Egilsson, skipper of HB Grandi’s freezer trawler Örfirisey RE when we spoke to him.

Örfirisey’s trip is now coming to an end and the ship is due to dock in Reykjavík next Wednesday. The trip began on deepwater redfish in the Skerja Deeps.

‘There have certainly been concerns about the state of the deepwater redfish stock and fishing has been generally poor recently. On the other hand, there is plenty of golden redfish and that stock appears to be in very good shape,’ he said.
Like the rest of the fleet, Örfirisey’s fishing pattern is dictated by its quota situation and Trausti Egilsson said that quotas for some species are starting to become tight.

‘We can go for species such as Greenland halibut, deepwater redfish and saithe all of which have shown some poor fishing recently. We haven’t searched too hard for saithe, but to fish saithe you have to have some cod quota to go with it. The fresher trawlers have struggled to find saithe, but the cod that has come out of those trips has been processed at the Reykjavík and Akranes processing plants,’ he said as he was taking Örfirisey closer to land to get some shelter from the bad weather for the coming weekend.

‘We’re trying to find some kind of a lee and hoping that it will still be fishing weather. We’ll have to wait and see if we try to find Greenland halibut or something else for the last few days of the trip. There were a few good days on Greenland halibut right after new year, but apart from that they have been hard to find, both off the west and the east coasts,’ he said.