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HB Grandi fleet has half of blue whiting quota left

The HB Grandi fleet's blue whiting catches have already passed the 25,000 tonne mark, accounting for more than half of the company's 42,000 tonne quota this year, plus the approximately 6000 tonnes the HB Grandi pelagic vessels were able to carry over from the previous year. This gives the company's fleet 48,000 tonnes of blue whiting to catch in 2008.

HB Grandi currently has two vessels, Faxi RE and Lundey NS fishing blue whiting, while the third vessel, Ingunn AK, is temporarily laid up with winch problems.

According to manager (pelagic) Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, Ingunn docked in Vopnafjördur on the 3rd of March. A new winch drum is being made in Norway and this is due to be delivered on the 22nd of May, plus a day will be needed to fit the new drum, and the installation will be carried out in Norway before Ingunn returns to the blue whiting fishery.

'It's a blow to have Ingunn laid up just when the fishing has been at its best,' says Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson. Both Lundey and Faxi landed yesterday in Vopnafjördur, each of them with a full payload, making a total landing of 3000 tonnes.
In recent weeks, the blue whiting fishery has been so-called grey zone between Scotland and the Faroe Islands, although there is now an international agreement over demarcation. Fishing has been strong, although it slowed significantly last weekend, after which the fleet shifted grounds and is now fishing about 40 nautical miles west of Sudurey, the southernmost tip of the Faroe Islands. According to Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, Faxi had just reached the fishing grounds after a 30 hour steam from Vopnafjördur and Lundey was on the way to the same grounds, where a large fleet of largely Russian, Faroese and Icelandic vessels are at work. Catches were slow over the weekend and there are hopes that this will improve in the next few days.

Much of June is expected to be given over to maintenance and repairs of the company's pelagic fleet, and Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson says that the intention is to put them on to Atlanto-Scandian herring by the beginning of July.