The course of fisheries as per week 43/2018

Published: by Jarle A. Hansen

Still a lot of mackerel at Shetland, and this season’s best week for herring in the Norwegian Sea.

Mackerel
Another good ‘mackerel week’, even if not at the same level as we had over the two previous weeks when the total volume was close to 50.000 MT. Last week we registered 29.800 MT.
Of this volume 10.000 MT were caught by purse seiners, 7.900 by coastal vessels, 3.300 MT by trawlers - and foreign vessels had 8.500 MT.
Nearly all mackerel was caught in EU waters, in an area southeast of Shetland. It is reported lots of mackerel in the area, and in periods it may be difficult to get the right magnitude for catching.
The size is still falling back. Last week’s average: 410 g. This is the average of mackerel above 250 g. As much as 10 % being less than 250 g, tells the real average to be even lower.
Of this year’s quota (190.000 MT), 173.800 MT now are caught.
Including “flex” for next year, still some 27.000 MT is remaining. Considering other aspects, we expect less to be actually caught.

Atlanto Scandic herring
Finally, splendid weather for several days in the Norwegian Sea resulting in this year’s very best week, totaling 35.000 MT registered. The volume was shared on 47 different vessels with catches from 105 to 1.080 MT.
The catching started in the south part of the Loop Sea. Later the fleet hit herring further east in Norwegian waters, at 65⁰ N. In addition, some vessels hit the herring even further northeast, just some 170 n.m. west of Træna.
It is reported high concentrations of herring, at the southeastern field. The trouble is that the herring is staying very deep during night, - this is after all quite normal in times of full moon and clear sky.
At the coast, just a few catches were taken at Møre. From north, we are told of whales observed near Kvænangen, and catches of cod containing herring in the stomach. Last year, several larger vessels operated outside Torsvåg by late October, but the first catch to be penned-in was on the 12th of November.
In the Norwegian Sea it is expected high activity in the forthcoming week.

North Sea herring
Seven vessels reported 2.900 MT of North Sea herring last week.
Vessels having finished their mackerel operations, have been chasing the North Sea herring, focusing on the Norwegian zone.
Early last week, some catches were registered southeast of the Patch Bank with herring sized close to 200 g. Later, the herring was more widespread, and the vessels moved into the EU zone. - Some vessel got good catches in EU waters as far south as 55⁰ N, just east of Newcastle. The size in these waters is in the range of 170-183 g. - On Sunday night, several vessels were in operation at this field.

Ocean sprat
One vessel, “Malene S”, has taken her part of the sprat quota by catching 560 MT in Dutch sector. Of the total quota of 10.000 MT, close to 7.000 MT now are caught and sold for reduction purposes. - Buyers in the market for raw material fit for consumption purposes, are very interested, subject to sprat of right size. Hopefully some vessels will be tempted to find sprat of this kind.

Indirect consumption
Many trawlers have shifted to mackerel. Accordingly, catching for indirect consumption has been limited. Just 80 MT of blue whiting, 50 MT of argentine and 110 MT of horse mackerel.

Summing up
We have behind us a very hectic October with huge volumes and sky-high sales. Even if there still some days left of October, we claim to beat the record of 2,1 billion NOK, being the turnover in September 2011. So far this month, we have had some 217.000 MT at the auction, pelagic species worth more than 2,4 billion NOK. This is an impressing figure, and an impressing effort made by all producers and buyers selling this fish worldwide.

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