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Herring fishing goes well, but fish small

Herring production is set to resume at HB Grandi’s pelagic plant in Vopnafjördur after a long break. Lundey NS arrived yesterday with 700 tonnes on board and Ingunn AK was in Vopnafjördur in the afternoon, with approximately 900 tonnes in its tanks.

With no herring on the Breidafjördur fishing grounds for two weeks, much of the fleet steamed eastwards to the Breidamerkur Deeps where there has been good fishing for the last two days. According to skipper Arnthór Hjörleifsson, the focus is not on Breidafjördur for the moment.

‘Apart from some terrible weather, there was no herring to be seen on the days when there was weather to fish. We had been sheltering in Grundarfjördur during the worst of the weather and then in Akranes for a few days before we decided to come over to the east coast. It’s not easy to work out how much herring there is in the Breidamerkur Deeps because the fish are dispersed and there aren’t any strong marks on the sounder. The herring here is smaller than in Breidafjördur and I’d guess our average weight is around 270 grammes,’ Arnthór Hjörleifsson said, adding that the whole fleet left the fishing grounds last night after the weather took another turn for the worse.

He said that what happens next is uncertain. The fleet has been fishing for herring with purse seines, apart from Vilhelm Thorsteinsson EA which tried to trawl for herring outside the purse seine area.

‘I heard they had a 150 tonne haul of 300 gramme herring, which indicates we’d be better off trawling than pursing ,’ he said.

According to Ingunn’s skipper Gudlaugur Jónsson, a larger purse seine was taken on board before Ingunn headed east.

‘We arrived in the Breidamerkur Deeps last night. The marks were poor and I have the feeling there’s not a lot of herring here. We dodged through the weather yesterday and were able to fish in the evening when it had dropped way a bit. The herring is smaller than the Breidafjördur herring we are used to and our samples showed an average weight of 250 grammes.’