The course of fisheries as per week 45/2017

Published: by Jarle A. Hansen

Several challenges in the fisheries for Atlanto Scandic herring.

Atlanto Scandic herring
A number of different challenges in the fisheries for Atlanto Scandic herring, resulted in just 20.000 MT registered last week. This is significantly lower than the week before, when 37.000 MT were registered.
Of last week’s volume, 11.300 MT were caught in the Loop Sea. In this area the main challenge has been a low-pressure weather system dominating the entire week. - The herring is still with a good size; 340 -381 g.
Another challenge has been that the herring is more scattered in westerly direction compared to what was the case a year ago. The catching last year was at the time performed some 100 n.m. more east, and thus closer to shore. This year, the herring seems to have no hurry to move towards the coast, according to fishermen’s observations.
The remaining volume was taken at the coast, where the main part, 8.200 MT were taken in North Troms/West Finnmark counties, in an area from Skjervøy Island to Lopphavet. The herring from this area is much smaller; 193-240 g, with an average at 218 g. – The challenge here is the “fjord line” established in outer part of Kvænangen. Both availability and size seems to be better inside this blocking line. In case the share of small herring (grade 4) is getting to high, this will create problems when it comes to sales.
Early in the week there were some catches in the Gavls Fjord in Vesterålen. Here the size was better, with an average at 250 g. The fishermen reported small volumes in the area, and the challenge was cod being mixed in. On Friday the Directorate closed this area.
There has been a strong focus on extended “flex” over the last period, and the fishermen express a strong wish for being able to catch less than what is present regulation; minus 10 %. The Ministry has promised to decide shortly.
In the forthcoming week the weather forecast for the Norwegian Sea is better, and accordingly the activity will be higher.
Further north, the smaller vessels will be in operation, and hopefully herring of a better size than just 200 g, will be found, - improving market’s demand and sales.

Mackerel
Again, the weather and strong winds hampered the operations, and totally 7.300 MT were caught. Here the comparison to the week before is even more striking as it then were caught as much as 29.000 MT.
As it is now, it is foreign vessels that mostly contribute; 4.200 MT, - while Norwegian vessels had some 3.000 MT last week. Except for some mackerel being penned-in, the entire volume was taken in EU waters. The catches were taken in an area southeast of Shetland and further south to an area west of Fladen.
The size of the mackerel was in a range from 350 – 420 g. The average of the week was 392 g, marginally lower than the week before.
Both for Norwegian and foreign vessels, there is now just a few vessels still having quotas left. Thus, the activity will be more modest in days to come.

North Sea herring
Some vessels have still quota left, and last week, there were nine vessels catching a total of 1.625 MT. All catches were taken at the beginning of the week, as the weather later in the week became a hindrance.
Again, the operations were carried out in EU waters, and most catches were taken further east compared to the mackerel operations.
In these fisheries, activities will be higher next week, and hopefully the herring will be gathering - and weather more “cooperative”.

Ocean sprat
Five vessels set sails for the ocean sprat last week. So far, the results have not been impressing; just two minor catches of 190 MT altogether.
For other vessels, it has mainly been a search at different sprat fields further south in the North Sea.

Indirect consumption
Just three vessels have been in operation, and with modest results; 800 MT of Norway pout, plus some smaller volumes of blue whiting, silver smelt and horse mackerel.

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