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Gearing up for pearlside

After days of bad weather south of the Faroe islands, HB Grandi is pulling its pelagic vessels off blue whiting for the moment and they are now steaming to Vopnafjördur. The intention now is to fit out for fishing pearlside, a species that has not been exploited in the past but which several vessels have been successful in fishing for recently.

Pearlside is found all around Iceland but has never previously been exploited in any volumes. Experimental fishing started on this at the beginning of this year and catches were landed for fishmeal production.

According to Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, head of HB Grandi’s pelagic division, all three vessels are due in Vopnafjördur tomorrow.

Faxi RE has 1150 tonnes of blue whiting on board, Ingunn AK has 1200 tonnes and Lundey NS has 1000 tonnes to discharge. So far the company’s fleet has caught 4900 tonnes of its 24,000 tonne blue whiting in the southern part of the Faroese EEZ this year.

‘We now plan to put the three pelagic vessels onto pearlside until the capelin season starts. It seems that the latest types of capelin trawls and codends can be used for catching pearlside and we already have this gear. Hampidjan is also preparing specially-design trawls for pearlside and we’ll be using the new gear as well,’ Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson said.

According to Wikipedia:

The pearlsides; pearlside, Mueller's bristle-mouth fish, Muller's bristlemouth fish, or Mueller's pearlsides, Maurolicus muelleri, a marine hatchetfish of the genus Maurolicus, is found in deep tropical and subtropical waters of all oceans, from the surface to depths of 1,500m. Its length is between 5 and 8cm.
The pearlsides is unusual in that it is moderately elongate compared to the very deep-bodied shape of the other members of the family. The first dorsal fin is set about halfway along the back while the second is adipose, long, and thin. All fins are thin and filamentous and are usually damaged when the fish is caught. On the undersides there are rows of various-sized photophores which glow purple. The colour is blue-green above with silver sides and belly.
Pearlsides carry out diel vertical migrations, rising to near the surface at night. They spawn in mid-water at about 250 to 500 m depth, the fertilised eggs slowly rising to the surface where laval development takes place.