The course of the Fisheries as per week 36/2015

Published: by Jarle A. Hansen

No mackerel fishing in open sea, only at the coast - and by the smaller vessels. Extraordinary horse mackerel fishery in the North Sea. 

The mackerel fishing has recently been performed close to shore only, and by the smaller coastal vessels. The fishing activity has been from the county of Rogaland in the south and further north to Møre.
For the trailing liners the activity has been carried out unusually close to the shores, which is more challenging to the fishermen as it is more difficult to get an even fishery and the lines are easily getting stuck in shallow waters. Further off the coast there has been little mackerel observed and the weather has not been very helpful with strong northerly winds.
The liners have so far caught 5.300 MT of their quota; including the flexible part of 10 % they have a remaining quota of 15.100 MT left. Following the activity we see, the quota is hardly to be fulfilled. Hopefully the mackerel will migrate into more open waters and maybe weather will improve as well.
The mackerel caught close to shore has been fairly small with an average weight below 300 g. In some areas the size has been as small as 150 g. The prices have been in the range from NOK 3,20-5,50.
The larger coastal vessels and purse seiners have so far not been chasing the mackerel. They are expected to start in the forthcoming week.

Horse mackerel
Following that the vessel "Sulebas" got horse mackerel at the Viking Bank when looking for the North Sea herring, several other vessels also started their chase for this "capricious" fish. Last week close to 3.900 MT were reported for consumption purposes from 31 different vessels. The catching has been uneven from just a few metric tons to the very best with 500 MT last week.
The size was in the range from 265-320 g and the average was at 290 g. The prices have been in the range from NOK 5,80 to 8,64 at the highest. The average price; NOK 6,91.
The buyers report that the fat content is fairly low making it harder to sell the fish to the best paying markets in the Far East. Following strong winds and a sheltering-port-period, the vessels again on Sunday set sail and got some catches. Hopefully this very early start is an indication for a good horse mackerel season this autumn as it used to be in "the good, old days".

North Sea herring
From six vessels outside Scotland and Shetland 3.000 MT of North Sea herring were reported last week. The catches have been taken by trawl in areas south west of Shetland and west off the Orkneys. The size of the herring; 244-265 g and the volumes were sold according to contracts.

Blue whiting and Norway pout
Along the edge of the Egersund Bank and further north, 1.850 MT of Norway pout have been caught and 850 MT of blue whiting. The catches were sold for meal&oil production in Egersund and Hanstholm at prices close to NOK 1,90.

Some trawlers have also reported 200 MT of horse mackerel being bycatch.

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