14,700 tonnes of blue whiting in a month
According to Sveinbjörn Sigmundsson, production manager at HB Grandi’s Vopnafjördur division where blue whiting is reduced to fishmeal, production has been running at close to full capacity. The plant can handle 600 tonnes of raw material in each 24-hour period.
‘We received the first landing of blue whiting on the 18th of April and the factory has been running at full speed to the 16th of May, apart from two days when there were no landings,’ says Sveinbjörn Sigmundsson, commenting that they took 7000 tonnes of blue whiting during April and a further 7700 tonnes in May.
He says that the plant has run perfectly, both landings and production. There is a staff of four on each shift, with twelve-hour shifts running when there is enough raw material to run at full capacity. He comments that the blue whiting has been first-class raw material, although the quality had begun to decline as the fishery came to a close.
Ready for the herring
The factory is now preparing for landings of Atlanto-Scandian herring now that HB Grandi’s pelagic fleet is preparing to start fishing for herring at the end of June.
‘Hopefully the herring will have a fat content by then, as I heard that herring landed in May had been very thin. The herring tends to reach its peak condition in August, when we can expect a fat content of 17-20%,’ Sveinbjörn Sigmundsson says.
This is an important part of production, as prices for fish oil are currently high. But it is still unsure how much emphasis will be placed on production for human consumption. This depends largely on the feed condition of the fish and the steaming time from fishing grounds.
Fantastic port facilities
The harbour at Vopnafjördur has received a major face-lift in recent months, with the channel into the harbour deepened and quayside extended to provide 240 metres of dockside space with a depth of ten metres. Work on concreting the apron is continuing this summer and HB Grandi’s production manager is delighted with the new facilities.
‘All I can say is that the port facilities we have now are fantastic,’ says Sveinbjörn Sigmundsson.