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HB Grandi fleet to get 33,400 tonnes of capelin

The Minister of Fisheries has decided to increase this season’s capelin quota to 299,000 tonnes, of which approximately 196,000 tonnes goes to the Icelandic fleet. HB Grandi has 18% of the capelin quota, but as 5.3% of the quota is allocated specifically, or around 10,000 tonnes, HB Grandi´s share of the quota comes to 33,423 tonnes.

This is a significantly higher quota than the Marine Research Institute had recommended, when on the 25th of January a 57,000 tonne overall quota was recommended. It had been known that there were was uncertainty in the survey carried out during early January, due to poor weather and sea ice over the survey area, so the decision was for a second survey from 3rd to 11th of February. This survey indicated a stock strength of 815,000 tonnes. The margin for error was assessed at 0.18. 

According to the catch rule designed to leave 150,000 tonnes with a 95% likelihood of spawning. This rule takes into account of possible survey errors, as well as predation by cod, haddock and saithe on capelin. On this basis, the Marine Research Institute advised a 299,000 tonne quota.

According to Garðar Svavarsson who heads HB Grandi’s pelagic division, the expectation is that a large proportion of the quota will be routed to roe production that normally starts at the end of February or the beginning of March.

‘We have a situation with a seamen’s strike that has lasted two months and there is currently no end to it in sight. Apart from that, market conditions for capelin vary between products. Meal and fish oil have dropped in price in recent months and sales of frozen male fish to Eastern European markets have been difficult due to the closed Russian market. But there is strong demand for roe-bearing capelin on the Japanese market and as stocks are low, roe prices are high,’ Garðar Svavarsson said.