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Mackerel spawning in Icelandic EEZ

A co-ordinated research cruise to examine mackerel distribution and volumes around Iceland and the Faroe Islands and extending as far east the the Norwegian coast, involving Iceland, the Faroes and Norway came to a close recently. Initial results of the Icelandic section of the research project indicate that the volume of mackerel in Icelandic waters is similar to previous years, and a similar co-ordinated research effort last year put the figure at 1.10 million tonnes. What has attracted attention this time is that the research showed juvenile one-year mackerel deep off the south-west of Iceland, indicating that mackerel are spawning in Icelandic waters.

This has been announced on the website of the Marine Research Institute, and these results are no great surprise as there has been a great deal of mackerel observed all around Iceland this summer, with shoals of mackerel observed in many bays and fjords.

According to Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, head of department at HB Grandi’s pelagic division, this merely confirms what has been observed over the last few years.

‘I can quote examples of small mackerel caught as by-catches with groundfish, which indicates mackerel spawning inside the Icelandic EEZ. This is now confirmed. These results certainly strengthen Iceland’s case for a fair share of the mackerel TAC for the North Atlantic and hopefully our counterparts overseas will be aware that a large portion of the mackerel stock is seeking feed inside our waters,’ Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson said.

HB Grandi’s pelagic vessels have a roughly 16,000 tonne mackerel quota this year and its trawlers have an additional 5500 tonnes, giving the company an approximately 21,500 tonne mackerel quota.