Adding value at Vopnafjördur
Production of herring and mackerel at HB Grandi’s production plant in Vopnafjördur for pelagic fish has been going well so far this summer and so far 4300 tonnes have been delivered to the factory, of which 2600 tonnes have been herring. Two new blast freezers were taken in to use at the start of the season and this addition contributes to increased product values.
Pelagic quality director Thorgrímur Kjartansson, standing in for the production manager, commented that production at Vopnafjördur has gone well this summer, with 100 to 120 staff working shifts. Although the spring and early summer have been colder than usual, resulting in smaller catches, there has been full production for the last two weeks. The two new blast freezers were added to the production line this summer, with around 20 staff working on the two daily shifts.
‘The blast freezers have performed very well. These mean that we can freeze mackerel for the highest paying markets, while until now these fish have simply been too big for the conventional plate freezers we have been working with. But that’s behind us now and we are able to supply markets that demand only blast-frozen mackerel,’ Thorgrímur Kjartansson said, adding that until now freezer cabinets had been used to wholefreeze large mackerel and herring. The blast freezers are much more effective and these can also be used to freeze capelin or herring fillets. The arrival of the blast freezers also helps the company achieve the required 70% of mackerel going for human consumption, as set out in new regulations.
Ingunn AK had just docked at Vopnafjördur with 180 tonnes of mackerel on board when we spoke to Thorgrímur Kjartansson. At the same time, Lundey NS was on fishing grounds south of Iceland and had just taken 120 tonnes in the first tow of the day.