Freezers make a start on mackerel
HB Grandi’s factory stern trawlers Venus HF and Therney RE have been fishing well on mackerel for the last few days, according to the freezer vessels’ quality control manager Steindór Sverrisson. The two trawlers are fishing on a special mackerel quota that was allocated to such vessels for the first time this year and each one can take 230 tonnes of mackerel HB Grandi has an 1150 tonne mackerel allocation this year.
‘They have been fishing with adapted Hampidjan pelagic trawls about 40 to 50 nautical miles west and south-west of Gardsskagi, where there appears to be mackerel everywhere. Catching the fish presents no problems and the fishing gear performs well. What really sets the pace is the freezing capacity on board. The fish are putting on weight rapidly at this time of year, so the fish are fat and delicate. The mackerel needs to be chilled quickly and then needs to be frozen for longer and to a lower temperature than other fish. So far we have been able to freeze 20 to 25 tonnes per day,’ Steindór Sverrisson said, adding that the mackerel appear to be feeding primarily on krill and by-catches have been minimal.
Steindór Sverrisson is convinced that there are strong possibilities in catching, processing and marketing mackerel.
‘We are taking the first steps right now and it’s reminiscent of when we started fishing on deep sea redfish. At the time plenty of people thought it wasn’t a great idea, but these days nobody doubts that redfish are worth fishing,’ he said.
So far Venus and Therney are around half-way through the amount of mackerel they are able to catch and when their allocations have been taken, the mackerel trawls will be transferred to Helga María AK and Örfirisey RE to take over their roles. The final quota will be taken by Höfrungur III AK.