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Deep sea redfish season a fantastic bonus

‘We can’t be anything but satisfied with the trawlers this summer. Fishing has been good across all species. Haddock has been the only one that’s been a problem as there hasn’t been a lot of this in the areas our trawlers have been fishing,’ said Birkir Hrannar Hjálmarsson, in charge of running HB Grandi’s groundfish trawlers.

He says that the deep sea redfish season this year has been particularly satisfactory.

‘We didn’t expect much, as last year’s season was very poor, to say the least. Over the last few years the redfish on the Reykjanes Ridge has been there from around the middle of May onwards and has normally not lasted longer than the first week of July. This year we were able to fish up to the beginning of August, by which time our trawlers had caught their quotas. HB Grandi had four trawlers on redfish and their catch was close to 6800 tonnes. This was a fantastic bonus and hopefully an indication that the stock’s condition is good.’

After the end of the redfish season, Venus HF left to fish in the Russian and later the Norwegian zones of the Barents Sea to catch HB Grandi’s quotas there.

The company’s freezers are now fishing west of Iceland on the Westfjords grounds and Birkir Hrannar Hjálmarsson says that with the exception of haddock being thin on the ground, fishing has been excellent.

‘The trawlers are getting mixed fish. There’s less haddock than there was this time last year and it doesn’t help that there’s a lot of cod out there that makes it more difficult to get haddock and saithe.’

The fresher trawlers have also been doing well and he says that their fishing patterns are fairly regular.

‘They start on redfish and saithe off the south coast and then move west to get their cod quota for each trip which is from 25 up to 40 tonnes per trip. They can normally get this in less than a day, as catching cod isn’t a problem. What is a problem is avoiding cod when you’re trying to catch something else,’ Birkir Hrannar Hjálmarsson said.