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High protein and oil yields from pearlside

“I like the look of pearlside meal. It has an excellent protein content and a meal production rate of about 15%. What is a surprise is how fat this little fish is, with a similar oil content to the meal at around 15%,” said Gudmundur Hannesson, plant manager at HB Grandi’s fishmeal production facility in Akranes when we spoke to him yesterday after he had taken delivery on Monday of the first landing  of 830 tonnes of pearlside from Bjarni Ólafsson AK.

 He said the pearlside is more difficult to work than other pelagic species such as capelin, herring and blue whiting.

“The fish is small, so it’s not so easy to pump and we get a lot of water ashore with it. Bjarni Ólafsson had 1130 cubic metres in its tanks, of which 830 tonnes was fish – so the difference there is around 300 tonnes. This means that the meal has a higher salt content than it would otherwise have, so there’s a chance that it won’t make the highest grade meal, although in every other way it’s top quality raw material. Also because of the water, it’s less easy to compress the fish for reduction,” Gudmundur Hannesson said, and commented that the meal is finer than capelin meal, for example, but has a similar colour.

All three of HB Grandi’s pelagic vessels are now fishing for pearlside and Gudmundur Hannesson recommends four-day trips. On board Ingunn AK a trial is in progress to use fresh water to chill the catch instead of conventional brine, which is hoped to reduce the salt content of the meal. Before any of the HB Grandi fleet is scheduled to land, Júpiter TH is expected with a similar or slightly smaller landing.

Gudmundur Hannesson said that he hopes to see a busy period ahead for the fishmeal plant as the fishing grounds are not far away and it does not appear advisable to steam long distances with pearlside on board. This is something of a difference over the same time last year when the Akranes fishmeal plant did not receive any of the usual capelin landings until late in February at around the time that the capelin roe season began.