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It’s all about capelin roe maturity

‘The fishing has been fine, but the capelin are far from easy to handle. There are good marks, and in between we’re steaming and searching. Now it’s all about capelin roe maturity, and it doesn’t seem to be the rule that the maturity is most developed in the capelin that are at the head of the migration. This has come as a surprise, and many skippers have been waiting to for the last lap of the season until the capelin reach particular areas,’ said Víkingur’s skipper Albert Sveinsson.

When we spoke to him earlier today, Víkingur was in a position in Faxaflói Bay, around 50 nautical miles west of Akranes. They were finishing the second shot of the day, and already had 930 tonnes in the tanks.

‘This is our third capelin trip. We were on the grounds around midday yesterday and managed two shots before nightfall. Venus is alongside in Akranes with a declared catch of 1800 tonnes, and we’d like to have 1700 tonnes before we steam in.’

‘There’s a strange situation with the capelin. It’s in distinct marks, and there’s nothing to be seen in between. There was fishing on a large mark west of the Snæfells glacier yesterday, but it was tight there and not easy to manoeuvre. One boat at a time was getting a shot, and then the next one followed.’

He said that everyone is searching for the capelin with the most mature roe. In its last trip, Víkingur’s catch had a 90% maturity, and it was 80% in the trip before that. As has already been mentioned, the capelin leading the migration is not necessarily the fish with the most mature roe.

‘There isn’t long left. Some of the capelin are already spawning and the roe content in the lead of the migration is 25-27%. There was a report of a mark off Reykjanes yesterday, and hopefully there’s more capelin that will show up as it moves westwards along the south coast.’

According to Garðar Svavarsson, manager of HB Grandi’s pelagic division, taking into account the fish already landed, there is around 4000 tonnes of capelin quota left.

‘If everything works out, the pelagic vessels’ next trips should be their last ones of this season. After that they’ll switch over to blue whiting, and there has been good fishing on that recently in international waters west of Ireland,’ Garðar Svavarsson said.