Heavy seas and ice hamper capelin search
Capelin production has started at HB Grandi’s factory in Vopnafjördur after Lundey NS landed 680 tonnes late last night. Factory manager Magnús Róbertsson said that the capelin is slightly smaller than the fish that were being landed at the end of last year, but there is no great difference. A good proportion of the fish goes for human consumption and the fish that are graded out are passed to fishmeal production.
It is now a week since Lundey NS started searching for capelin along the lines that the Marine Research Institute has suggested, and the search began on Westfjords grounds. According to skipper Arnthór Hjörleifsson, the conditions for searching are as bad as they can be.
‘We started at the bottom of the Vikurál Gully and from there out along the edge, but didn’t see any capelin until we were on the Hali grounds. There were some marks there and from what the trawler skippers told us, their groundfish catches were all stuffed full of capelin. From there we were supposed to search to the north, but had to back off due to sea ice and the weather was as bad as it has been since New Year,’ Arnthór Hjörleifsson said, commenting that from the Westfjords they shifted eastwards to the Kolbeinsey area, where conditions were no better.
‘We were expected to search west of Kolbeinsey and then sweep north of the island, but we had to give up on that idea. The weather was really bad, with 20 to 25m/s winds and heavy icing. The weather then worsened and we decided to wait for it to calm down in port at Húsavík.’
Lundey was then able to start fishing on capelin on Sunday morning and Arnthór Hjörleifsson said that they started in the area north of Langanes.
‘We could see that there was life everywhere and there was no shortage of whales that were everywhere. The weather blew up again and we only managed two hauls, the second of which we only towed for two hours,’ he said, adding that there were other vessels fishing on the same grounds around 67°N. There has also been some capelin seen further south and closer to land, and initial reports suggest that this capelin is larger than the fish that are being caught further north.