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Worst redfish season ends

HB Grandi's trawlers have finished the poorest deep sea redfish season since the fishery began. Four of the company's trawlers took part and according to Birkir Hrannar Hjálmarsson, in charge of running HB Grandi's trawler fleet, the catch has dropped by 45% over last year's season.

Örfirisey RE, Þerney RE, Helga María AK and Venus HF all began on redfish in May and landed before the Seamen's Day stopover in early June, after which only three returned to the redfish grounds, leaving Örfirisey to switch to home waters for a shakedown trip after refitting for twin-rig trawling.

'The redfish have been scarce and it seems that our catch has been between 3100 and 3200 tonnes, while we took 5770 tonnes last year,' he says, commenting that the company's fifth freezer trawler, Höfrungur III AK, has been on Greenland halibut and has been fishing well.

'Running a factory trawler is now all about keeping clear of cod. We took measures to ensure that we had enough cod quota left after the summer, but we're still experiencing problems as there is so much cod everywhere that we are trying to target other species,' comments Birkir Hrannar Hjálmarsson. He says that cod and high fuel prices are the main problems facing a trawler operator at the moment.

'It doesn't help to complain, though. Surely the cod quota will increase in the coming years and hopefully the fuel price will come down from its present level.'

Fresher trawlers Ásbjörn RE, Sturlaugur H. Böðvarsson AK and Ottó N Þorláksson RE have been fishing routinely, he says, with the exception of poor fishing on saithe.

'There is a lot of feed on the grounds and the saithe are staying high in the water, but we expect they'll drop within range closer to the bottom before long,' Birkir Hrannar Hjálmarsson says.