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No results in capelin search, but still optimistic

‘The situation is unusual, but the capelin are certain to show up in shallow water, although where and when are anybody’s guess. We don’t have to look back many years for examples of the capelin failing to show up until the end of January or even into February, so there’s no point not being optimistic,’ Ingunn AK’s skipper Róbert Axelsson said at the end of the capelin search that started earlier this week.

Faxi RE and Ingunn AK searched for capelin over a wide area off the north coast of Iceland, starting off the north-east and to west of the Hali grounds off north-western Iceland. From there they followed banks and thermoclines south into the Víkurál Gully before steaming to Akranes to tie up.

‘We started on the shallows off Vopnafjördur and westwards along the north coast outside the trawl box that lies on the bank. Then we searched along the banks west of the Kolbeinsey ridge and down into the Víkurál Gully without seeing any signs of capelin in catchable amounts so there was no reason to get the gear wet this time,’ Róbert Axelsson said.

Norwegian pelagic vessels have been searching for capelin off the east coast with no success. There has been bad weather on those fishing grounds for the past few days, so now most of the Norwegian fleet us tied up in Seydisfjördur.

‘It’s an unusual situation, but there are past seasons that have ben similar. I recall that during the 2007 season the capelin didn’t show in amounts that were worth fishing on until they were off the Westmann Islands in late January or the beginning of February, and in 2001 I’m sure that the capelin were finally located in the Víkurál Gully.’

‘It’s only fairly recently that we started to see some real success fishing capelin in December and early January with pelagic trawls, and before that we fished only with purse seines. Research vessel Árni Fridriksson came back with some good results from the autumn survey, so my feeling is that the capelin are still dispersed, and it’s just a matter of time before they group together and migrate into shallow waters,’ Róbert Axelsson said.