The course of the Fisheries as per week 22/2014

Published: by Jarle A. Hansen

Expanded activity on the North Sea herring, but not yet top quality. Good catching of mackerel in southern parts and up north the season has started. - Just moderate results for sandeel last week.

North Sea herring
Following a slow start and initial delivery restraints, several vessels came into operation last week. The total volume of the week was 7.400 MT and Sunday was the very best day with 2.300 MT.
There is two main ways of producing herring for consumption purposes. The main part is produced as filets where the market is looking for herring above 200 g as an average. This size is available in the northern part of the North Sea. - Last week the fleet was getting this type of herring in an area west of Oseberg.
The other possibility is to produce for matjes quality. As the matjes season is coming up, the buyers want smaller herring being of the right shape and fat content. This herring is normally found in the mid areas of the North Sea. However, most of last week proved no herring of the right size and quality - until the weekend where the very first catches were taken near the Ling Bank some 100 n.m. west of Egersund. The size of this herring was between 155-168 g.
Prices have been close to the minimum price; NOK 3,- or just above when being fileted. The small volume of matjes quality was paid by NOK 4,50 at the best. Of last week's quantity some 900 MT were sold for meal&oil purposes.
In the forthcoming week even more vessels are expected to join in. Due to a rather weak herring market for the time being, the buyers' interest is very limited and the buyers signalize they want to be able to sell on before producing.  This is why several fishermen now are evaluating to sell the herring for reductions purposes instead.

Following two weeks with good results (weekly 28.000 MT of sandeel), last week was more moderate with just 10.800 MT registered. The reason for a lower yield is complex; the fishermen report less sandeel observed and in addition more small sized fish mixed in.  The operations have also been hampered by strong easterly winds and less vessels participating.
On Sunday the Coast Guard defined a "cautious" area at the "Ytterbanken"/Outer Shoal as the magnitude of small sized sandeel mixed in was too high.  Most sandeel except one catch (Denmark), has been delivered for reduction purposes in Norway. Prices; from NOK 1,70-1,90.
Of the annual quota of 90.000 MT, 16.000 MT remain. Hopefully the catching improves again enabling everyone to get their share.

With summery conditions in southern parts, the mackerel catching by smaller vessels has been good. Along the coast from Rogaland County up north to Sogn some 220 MT have been caught for fresh purposes. Following high volumes of fresh mackerel available, the market has its limit and several vessels do now consider delivering their mackerel for freezing.
Up north a couple of vessels have been chasing the mackerel over the weekend. Mackerel is observed at "Skinnadjupet" and further north to west off Røst Island. On Sunday several vessels were in operation in this area. More vessels are joining in. Hopefully this will be the start of a good mackerel season in the northern waters.

Blue whiting
From the edge of the North Sea it has been registered 500 MT of blue whiting and 120 MT of Norway pout. These catches are all sold for reduction purposes; prices close to NOK 1,45.

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