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The farmer at Bjarnarhöfn wanted a catch share

‘Fishing was very quiet. We steamed all over Breidafjördur for three days this time. The first day there was nothing, and then we had a 75 tonne shot inside Grundarfjördur the on the second day. Yesterday things worked out and we had 480 tonnes around Hrútey,’ said Albert Sveinsson, skipper of HB Grandi’s pelagic vessel Faxi RE when we spoke to him about the herring fishery this afternoon. By that time Faxi was already on its way to Vopnafjördur, in a position four nautical miles north of Grímsey with an 0200 ETA to be alongside at Vopnafjördur.

‘We found a small mark near Hrútey, shot three times and did reasonably well. It’s deep close in to the island and the herring were right up against it. Hildibrandur, the farmer and shark processor at Bjarnarhöfn even phoned us and asked we were looking to tow our trawl right up onto the island. He must have thought we were trespassing on his ground and reckoned he was owed a share of the catch,’ Albert Sveinsson said, adding that the herring caught around Hrútey weighs an average of 300 grammes and is fatter than the Grundarfjördur herring with a 245 gramme average weight.

According to Albert Sveinsson, there appears to be less herring in Breidafjördur than in previous years, although it’s still early to be making predictions as to how the season will progress.

‘Last year we didn’t start fishing on Icelandic summer-spawning herring until November and we’re a good two weeks early this year. Hopefully things will improve and according to a few reports this morning, things are picking up and a few of the boats did well there straight away. Ingunn Ak had a good catch and they are on their way to Vopnafjördur. Lundey NS ought to be at the fishing grounds tonight and hopefully the fishing will continue tomorrow and the following days,’ Albert Sveinsson said.

According to HB Grandi CEO Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, the company has excellent markets for its frozen herring, and although the herring is smaller than in past years, it is perfect for processing.