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Positive progress on pearlside processing

HB Grandi’s pelagic vessels returned to fishing pearlside at the beginning of this week after bad weather kept them in port last week. Now that the weather looks to be improving, factory manager Gudmundur Hannesson at HB Grandi’s fishmeal production plant in Akranes is hoping that catches will improve. We are now into the time of year that a year ago gave the best pearlside catches.

Last week the Akranes fishmeal plant took delivery of a total of 2000 tonnes of pearlside from HB Grandi’s own vessels, as well as from Bjarni Ólafsson AK and Gudmundur Hannesson said that altogether 8000 tonnes of pearlside have been delivered to the factory through December and January, following the 4500 tonnes of herring that were processed in November.

‘Production is going very well. It made a big difference when the crews at sea worked out how to use their RSW systems to chill pearlside, which was something that had been thought impossible as the small fish would clog the systems. But by running the pumps at minimum speed, it has been made to work. It also helps that these boats have filled their tanks with fresh water before sailing and by pumping slowly, less sea water comes through with the fish. Here we have also been able to extract more liquid from the raw material before it goes to the presses, which means that the salt content of the finished fishmeal is lower than it would be otherwise,’ he said and commented that the pearlside has a high oil content and is almost as high as the meal content of raw material.

‘Now we’re just hoping that the fishing improves. Once that happens, there’s nothing in the way of running production here at full speed,’ Gudmundur Hannesson said.