The course of fisheries as per week 45/2018

Published: by Jarle A. Hansen

Good weather in the Norwegian Sea resulted in this year’s best herring week,  - and the good news; sprat catching in the Trondheim Fjord.

Still, there is mackerel at Shetland and last week came out with 22.600 MT. This volume was shared on 13 catches with as much as 19.200 MT from foreign vessels. As the week before, the catching has been carried out near Shetland where vessels from Scotland and Shetland mostly have been operating inside 12 n.m. west of Shetland. The Norwegian vessels have been catching their mackerel southeast of Shetland.
The size of the mackerel is in the same range as we have seen over the last couple of weeks with a balanced average weight at 410 g. This is the average of mackerel above 250 g. At the same time, it is observed as much as 22 % of mackerel being smaller than 250 g, indicating the real average to be lower than 400 g.
So far, 182.100 MT have been caught of the total, close to 190.000 MT. Just modest volumes will be caught in the period ahead; - coastal vessels still have some quota left. - Most foreign vessels are also now terminating for the mackerel, and thus less landings are expected from them as well.

Atlanto Scandic herring
Despite difficult ‘behavior’ by the herring, we got the best week this season. The catching has been performed in two areas. One in the Norwegian Sea where 29.100 MT were taken. These vessels have been operating in a huge area in Norwegian waters from close to the borderline of the Loop Sea, to some 90 n.m. of Værøy island. The herring has been standing deep, which means that those using seine are reaching just the upper part of the school.
Still, there is good sized herring in open sea with a size from 349 -403 g, and an average at 384 g.

Also, from Kvænangen (Troms), the catching has improved, and we got 8.500 MT last week. In these areas we find younger fish, mainly herring from 2013 which is dominating the catches with a size from 208 – 285 g. - The average; 251 g.
The herring is now well established in the area, mostly northeast of Skjervøy island. Some white fish is mixed-in, and the Directorate allowed on Friday, access for coastal vessels to catch across the ‘fjord line’. This gave an improvement in results.
In the forthcoming week, we still expect activity in the Norwegian Sea, however, more uncertain weather may hamper the operation at the end of the week.
In Kvænangen, we expect more vessels to join in.

North Sea herring
As a total, 2.300 MT of North Sea herring were caught last week. Five catches were sold for consumption purposes (1.650 MT), and the remaining part for reduction purposes. The main part was taken in EU waters at different fields, from as far south as 54⁰ 39’ N, and further north to a field east of the southern point of Shetland.
The size varies from 170 -220 g, - the minor herring being in the southern part.
Looking at quotas, 153.000 MT of the total quota of 180.000 MT now have been caught. Taking the “flex” into consideration, still some catching remains.

Following a season where the sprat catching has been disappointing in the traditional fjord areas of Sogn and Hardanger, last week gave 220 MT from the Trondheim Fjord. This was sprat of good quality; 100 pcs/kg, well suited for canning. We must go back as far as 2010 to find sprat being caught in the Trondheim Fjord. Hopefully more sprat is still to be found.

Horse mackerel
Some vessels have been chasing the horse mackerel, from Skagerrak in east, and westwards, beyond the Egersund Bank. Fishermen’s hope was linked to the new moon, but results were disappointing.In Hordaland (county), three smaller catches have been penned-in.

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