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Capelin season over for HB Grandi fleet

Venus has almost finished landing in Akranes and once its fish has been processed the capelin season will be over for HB Grandi this year. Fishing for blue whiting in international waters west of Ireland is next and Víkingur sailed from Akranes earlier today, with Venus expected to follow tomorrow morning.

‘We had 2000 tonnes in this last capelin trip,’ said Venus’s skipper Guðlaugur Jónsson, commenting that this finished HB Grandi’s 33,800 tonne quota for the season.

He said that a clear feature of this season was the limited quota that was allocated.

‘Fishing started well in January, although the capelin were very dispersed along the east and south coasts. We had to take a break because of the quota situation when the capelin were off Langanes. Nobody was fishing when there was capelin off the east coast or when the fish were in the shallows off the south-east, and if we look at how widely capelin has been fished off the south, west and north coasts over the last few days, it’s clear that it’s impossible to say how strong this stock is. This is something that needs much more detailed research. The capelin need to be monitored all the time and we shouldn’t have to wait for days to get important information,’ Guðlaugur Jónsson said, adding that it should be borne in mind that the capelin spawning areas are shifting northwards.

‘Capelin likes a particular temperature, just like any fish species. The comparison is haddock that used to spawn mainly off the south coast. Now haddock spawn off the north.’

There have been reports of good fishing for blue whiting west of Ireland, and Guðlaugur Jónsson said that he hopes they are not too late.

‘The last day the Icelandic fleet had a decent catch in the international area last year was the 18th of March. After that the fish had migrated into UK waters. The problem with the fishing in this area is the weather. It’s rarely good. It’s not easy to take a big haul when it’s blowing a gale but we’re hoping it’ll be kind to us this time,’ Guðlaugur Jónsson said.