The course of fishery as per week 43/2017

Published: by Jarle A. Hansen

Last week; 22.000 MT of mackerel and close to 25.000 MT of Atlanto Scandic herring. 

Last week’s total came out with 22.000 MT registered. This was 7.700 MT less than the week before. Daily volumes have varied from 6.800 MT (on Thursday) to none mackerel at all on Sunday, as the strong northern winds hampered operations. The number of vessels having still quota left are reduced, which is also evident from the fact that of last week’s volume, 12.400 MT came from foreign vessels.
Except for a few catches being penned-in, the entire volume has been caught in the EU zone in a limited area southeast of the Shetlands. In periods, the mackerel has been highly concentrated, and the challenge has been to locate fish in a proper magnitude for a sweep. The weather has not been helpful and better periods have been very short.
When it comes to size, it is clearly a growing share of smaller mackerel observed in the catches. This is normal as now autumn proceeds. The average size has been 406 g; with 422 g at the best and 320 g in the low end.
Looking at the present status, including “the flex”, some 32.000 MT remain. What finally will be caught is difficult to estimate, but we can hope a third?
Several vessels still having quota left, have stayed in Leirwick during the weekend. Hopefully weather improves and the mackerel remain outside the 12 n.m line.

Atlanto Scandic herring
Also, when it comes Atlanto Scandic herring, we got a lower volume last week; 24.800 MT compared to 30.000 MT the week before. In these fisheries, the daily volumes have changed from 5.600 MT on Monday last week, to just 730 MT on Sunday. The main reason for a lower volume, is that several vessels “slowed down” following the lower minimum prices set on Monday last week.
The main part; 21.900 MT, was taken in the Norwegian Sea. The operations have been carried out over an extended area from west of 0° in the Loop Sea, to 4°30’ E in the Norwegian zone. This is an area stretching out for more than 100 n.m. The herring most east, is clearly migrating north east. The size from this area has been between 340-404 g, and the average was 375 g.
From an area north of Torsvåg in Troms County, and further north towards the “Tromsøflaket”, there were four catches with altogether 2.800 MT. The herring from this area consists of several different year classes, and is significantly smaller; 208-230 g. From the coast of Trøndelag, and also inside Lofoten, 400 MT are registered.
Based on a changing market for herring and falling minimum prices, a bottom line for minimum price was set on Friday. Hopefully this will have a positive effect on the market.
In addition, there are uncertainties linked to the international quota advice for 2018. A new advice should have been declared on Friday, but was postponed until Tuesday this week. This kind of uncertainties are highly problematic in the middle of a season. Hopefully the advice, and also what kind of “flex” is being approved, will be clarified this week.

North Sea herring
A couple of vessels have been chasing the North Sea herring, but as very little herring was observed, the vessels left the fields. In the areas where mackerel is being caught, some herring has been taken as by-catch.
In the north part of Hordaland County, some 50 MT of good sized herring (300 g) has been caught.
Several vessels are now preparing for the North Sea, hoping for the herring to get more together as there will be a full moon during the forthcoming weekend.

Indirect consumption
As several trawlers now have their focus on mackerel, just very modest volumes have been taken of this kind of species. Four vessels came up with 430 MT of Norway pout, 520 MT of blue whiting, 60 MT of silver smelt, and 140 MT of horse mackerel.

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