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Huge capelin shoal south of Ingólfshöfdi

HB Grandi’s pelagic vessel Lundey NS steamed this morning past a massive shoal of capelin south of Ingólfshöfdi. The shoal was 14 nautical miles long, varied in breadth from 600 to 1000 metres and in depth from 20 to 60 metres. Research vessel Árni Fridriksson was slightly to the west and also managed to take measurements of the same shoal.

‘We were steaming from Vopnafjördur where we had been to land our pearlside yesterday. Last Friday we steamed over the same area and noticed only some small, scattered shoals. But this is how it goes, a big shoal appears on the shallow grounds and then there are other capelin migrations into the shallows. If you don’t keep your eyes open, the start of the capelin season can pass you by. This almost happened last year. At that time people were arguing over how much capelin there was per cubic metre and the upshot was that the decision was made to take a trial shot – which was how the capelin in Reynis Deeps were found,’ said skipper Lárus Grímsson.

‘I expected that the fleet would be put on the starting blocks straight away. Normally this would be seen as a good indicator. This was a shoal that’s 50 to 60 metres deep where it’s thickest and 25 to 30 metres deep over most of its length. There wouldn’t be any problem taking 400 to 500 tonne shots along the whole of the 14 mile length of it and there’s also more capelin over a wide area further east. The problem is that 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes of capelin doesn’t show up all in one go to be measured easily. What happens is that one good shoal like this shows up off Ingólfshöfdi and then more filters into the migration along the shallows further west. The further west you go, the more capelin there is per cubic metre of water. We know this and it needs to be taken into account. If this isn’t done, then the capelin could be west of the Westmann Islands before the proper samples are taken and that doesn’t leave much time for the capelin season,’ said skipper Lárus Grímsson.