100 million trip for Helga María
Factory trawler Helga María AK docked last Saturday after a 27 day trip on Westfjords fishing grounds, landing 260 tonnes of frozen products after catching 470 tonnes of mostly haddock and saithe. The catch value is estimated at between 97 and 98 million Isl Kr.
According to skipper Eiríkur Ragnarsson, fishing was reasonable during the trip and roughly what can be expected at this time of year. Helga María's trip took the ship over much the same areas as the previous trip, to the Vikurál fishing grounds and north and east to the Reykjafjördur Gully.
'This was the usual routine, although we had between 40 and 50 tonnes of raw redfish, which is less than usual. We had around 90 tonnes of cod, which is about the minimum that can be managed in a trip like this. The cod lie in the colder water along the banks and if you're not careful, it's easy to catch too much of it,' Eiríkur Ragnarsson says.
Build up capelin to feed cod
There has been a heated debate recently over cod migrations north of Iceland and Eiríkur Ragnarsson says that he and other skippers have not particularly noticed that cod or other species on the Westfjords grounds have been feeding on cod spawn.
'But what is clear is that the cod are not feeding on capelin as they would usually do, as there isn't any capelin in those areas. I'm concerned that we really need to start looking at building up the capelin stock to ensure that cod have enough feed. We have certainly pushed the capelin stock too hard and it seems that the cod are now going towards Greenland in the search for feed. Cod fishing on the Dohrn Bank has been excellent and there are also reports of extremely good cod fishing south of Cape Farewell,' Eiríkur Ragnarsson says.