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162 million Isl Kr trip for Venus

Factory trawler Venus yesterday began landing in Reykjavík 290 tonnes of frozen products, the result of 700 tonnes of raw fish caught over a 40-day trip in the Russian zone of the Barents Sea. The catch value is estimated at 162 million Isl Kr.

According to Haraldur Árnason, the trawler's regular first mate and relief skipper for this trip, fishing began well with the factory deck producing up to 24 tonnes per day. Fishing was slower for the last weeks of the trip, with a poor final week. As agreements with Icelandic seamen's unions prohibit factory trawlers from spending more than 40 days at sea, and due to the long steaming time to and from the Barents Sea fishing grounds, Venus was only able to spend 28 of its 40 days fishing.

'It's a five-day trip each way to and from the fishing grounds, and we were also delayed on the way out by a Russian naval exercise in the Barents Sea that closed waters from inshore all the way to 250 miles offshore to shipping, so this took us further north and east than we had planned,' says skipper Haraldur Árnason. He adds that the furthest point of the trip at around 78°N and 48°E, not far from the Novaja Zemlya archipelago, is a 1500 mile distance from Reykjavík.


Catch cod and haddock

Venus was the only Icelandic fishing vessel working in Russian waters, although Ólasfjördur trawler Sigurbjörg had been there previously and fished well.

'The catch was mostly haddock and cod. We had around 570 tonnes of raw cod and 113 tonnes of haddock. Other species came to around 10 tonnes, mostly catfish and spotted catfish. The fish is largely small and experience has shown that better fish can be had on these grounds in early summer,' says Haraldur Árnason.
HB Grandi still has groundfish quota left in Russian waters, but it remains to be seen how this remaining quota will be handled. Haraldur Árnason says that there is a slack fishing time ahead, with the outlook more positive in Russian waters in November and December.