The course of fisheries as per week 8/2018

Published: by Jarle A. Hansen

The capelin season is over near Iceland, but “full speed” in the Barents Sea.  Blue whiting west of Ireland also "on track". Atlanto Scandic herring towards the end


Capelin at Iceland
When the catching finally started late in week 7, the fishing was good, and several vessels were able to get their quotas. Last week, just a few vessels had something left, and as the catching stopped by midnight on the 22nd of February, a certain tension was related to the question if there should be any new deal as the remaining volume was higher than the vessels’ remaining quotas.
On Thursday afternoon/evening, the Directorate came up with a change enabling vessels still being at the field to fulfill their quotas. The fleet was gathered close to shore north of Iceland. Last week came out with all together 11.415 MT.
Accordingly, this winters’ Icelandic capelin season has become history, and the final accounts indicate a modest over-fishing of 170, - though, some delivery notes are not counted for yet.

Capelin in the Barents Sea
Following the very first vessel starting to catch during week 7, the activity in the Barents Sea increased last week. As a total 21.560 MT have been registered. The catches are mainly delivered for consumption purposes. Some 2.000 MT were delivered for meal&oil purposes.
By the beginning of the week, the catching was performed 10 -15 n.m. north of Hjelmsøy island, but also further west, capelin was found; - off Fuglen at Sørøya island, and the fleet gathered in this area. Later, some catches were also taken further west; west of Torsvåg, and on Sunday, we also got aware of vessels operating even further west.
The drawback is that the capelin is of small size, just 50 pcs/kg as an average, females being even smaller. The roe percentage on Sunday was from 14 to 16-17%. Sometimes even higher. We have also been told of small herring being mixed in, and the herring is so like the capelin, that it is difficult to sort it out. On Friday, a warning was issued to avoid cod into the capelin catches.
As mentioned above, the activities have been carried out in western part of Finnmark county, but capelin was observed by a research vessel, also north of the town of Vardø. How much – and what size, is not yet known.

Atlanto Scandic herring
As most plants producing herring for consumption purposes have finished their season, the vessels have accordingly been less active. There is just one plant at the coast of Møre still in production, - and a certain interest also in Denmark.
Last week’s volume was 7.665 MT, a volume being significantly lower than the week before. The activity is near Buagrunnen and further south to Svinøy island. The size; from 296 -370 g with an average at 347 g.
In days to come we expect even lower activity, - still; some smaller vessels hope for getting as much as possible of their quota. Last year proved that there is an uncertainty linked to what size the herring will have during autumn.

Blue whiting
The activity related to blue whiting, was also quite high last week, close to 23.000 MT were registered. The reports came from three different areas; in the south just north of 50⁰ N, 15-16⁰ W, international waters. Next is also international waters, between 52⁰ 30’ N and 53⁰ 30’ N, west of 16⁰ W. -In addition, some catches were taken, aprx. 6.000 MT, in the EU zone, north of Porcupine. The main challenge is weather conditions. What we know is that in periods the weather has been bad. On Sunday; 15 vessels were in operation.

Other activities
Three small penned-in catches of horse mackerel (24 MT) have been reported. The catches were taken in Tysvær and Bømlo communities. In addition, one trawler catch of North Sea herring was taken. The catch was taken at the edge and the size was 145 g as an average.  

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