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Blue whiting showing on herring grounds

HB Grandi’s pelagic vessels have been eating fast into the company’s quotas for Atlanto-Scandian herring over the last few weeks and the end of season is in sight. Direct fishing on mackerel ended some time ago, although care was taken to leave enough mackerel quota to cover by-catches. Volumes of mackerel by-catch with herring catches have been variable, although some hauls have been as much as 50% mackerel.

All three of HB Grandi’s pelagic vessels are at sea today. Lundey NS and Ingunn AK  are off the east coast and Faxi RE sailed from Vopnafjördur this morning. According to Ingunn’s relief skipper Theódór Thórdarson, they are on the slopes east of the Glettinganes Shallows along with most of the pelagic fleet.

‘We sailed from Vopnafjördur yesterday morning, even though we had finished landing on Sunday. There was appalling weather and no point going anywhere until it had passed over,’ he said, commenting that the fishing grounds look healthy and although there are strong marks everywhere, that’s still no guarantee of good fishing.

‘We had a 70 tonne haul last night, which was mostly herring with some blue whiting mixed with it. We reckon probably around 10% blue whiting. Some of the pelagic boats are struggling because they have so little left of their mackerel quotas, but in most cases what they are getting is mostly herring,’ Theódór Thórdarson said.

Once the Atlanto-Scandian herring season is over, fishing on Icelandic summer spawning herring will begin, and he said that they have been aware of this mostly further south off the east coast. Over the last few years most of this herring has been caught in Breidafjördur.