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Good start on deep sea redfish

The Icelandic fleet’s redfish fishery opened at midnight last night and as the clock rolled over there were twelve trawlers that shot away just after midnight. There is also a number of foreign trawlers working on the Reykjanes Ridge grounds and as usual, the fishing prospects look best at the start of the season around and just outside the 200 mile limit.

Four of HB Grandi’s trawlers, Therney, Örfirisey, Venus and Helga María are now fishing along or just outside the 200 mile limit, and according to Heimir Gudbjörnsson, skipper on Helga María for this trip, they hauled after their first tow just before four o’clock this afternoon.

‘We had around 20 tonnes of redfish for a twelve-hour tow, or around 1.50 tonnes per towing hour. A tonne an hour is reckoned to be good, so this was a very good haul,’ he said, commenting that there are fifteen Russian trawlers fishing there, as well as four or five from Spain and around the same number of Norwegian and Faroese trawlers fishing around the Icelandic territorial limit, according to what the Russian skippers report.

‘Things have changed and it’s certainly an improvement on last year. The Russian were allowed to start fishing on the 26th of April, but according to the regulations, they can only take 15% of their quota before the 10th of May. This appears to have been respected and while some of them went to Iceland to land their fish, another seven waited it out for two or three days until they could start fishing again at midnight last night.’

Heimir Gudbjörnsson said that when the Russian started again, the fishing was best around three miles outside the limit, but since then the redfish have shifted closer and in past the limit. There is now some good fishing on both sides of the limit and some trawlers have started towing north-west along the line, something that hasn’t been tried yet. He commented that the redfish they have caught so far has been good quality fish, and is mostly medium sized redfish, mixed with some smaller redfish.