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Weather best off the Westfjords

Freezer trawler Höfrungur III docked in Reykjavík yesterday after a 19 day trip. According to skipper Haraldur Árnason, the trip was cut short due to the seamen’s strike that started at 2000 on Wednesday. For most of the trip, Haraldur said they had been fishing off the east coast.

‘We started south of Reykjanes and then steamed east. Therney did well there on Greenland halibut when they were on their way home from the Barents Sea, so I thought it might be worth checking to see if there was anything to be had to the east. It turned out there was no halibut, but we had some saithe there,’ he said, and added that the famous Rose Garden fishing grounds are nothing like they used to be.

‘Skippers used to fish there to steam with their catch to land it abroad, and they could be sure of a good trip of redfish or Greenland halibut there. That has all changed, especially over this last winter. There have been prevailing southerly winds and our experience is that when the wind is in the south, the fish disappear. The higher sea temperatures we hear mentioned don’t help. Now the best weather is off the Westfjords, which is very different to the way it used to be. That’s because we haven’t had the north-easterly storms that we’re used to. The haddock haven’t shown up because it hasn’t been cold this winter,’ Haraldur Árnason said.

From the east coast fishing grounds, Höfrungur III steamed off the north coast to the Westfjords grounds where they managed three days fishing.

‘There are fresher trawlers fishing on cod off the north coast, but that’s a species we avoid. Most of our time went into searching for saithe, and there wasn’t much of it to be seen. We can take haddock, but we can’t expect it to show up until the sea temperature drops. It looks like we have 385 tonnes of mixed fish for this trip,’ Haraldur Árnason said.