Gearing up for blue whiting with new codendHampiðjan’s Rockall codend is rigged for strength and a 900-tonne capacity. Photo: Hampiðjan

Fishing companies in Iceland are already gearing up for blue whiting in the New Year. While there are hopes that there will be a capelin season to keep pelagic vessels busy in January, there’s a chance the fleet will be back on blue whiting.

This year there was no capelin season, as insufficient volumes were identified and no quota was allocated, so the pelagic fleet started the year on blue whiting instead. The ideal situation next year would be for a capelin fishery to start in January and for blue whiting quotas to be held over for later in the spring – but things don’t always work out that way.

Iceland’s blue whiting quota for 2021 is expected to be around 200,000 tonnes.

Fishing for blue whiting places heavy demands on the fishing gear, and particularly codends, and especially in the area off Rockall when the Icelandic fleet fishes in international waters. As late winter turns into spring, the blue whiting fishery in these waters can be challenging, with deep depressions that result in stormy weather and heavy seas. Larger vessels with plenty of engine power vessels are needed to be able to fish there.

Fishing gear also needs the strength and resilience to cope with the tensions that come with a codend rising at full speed from a 600 to 700 metre depth.

Over the past few months Hampiðjan has been developing an even more robust codend capable of withstanding these high tensions.

The result is the Rockall codend, 86 metres long and with a 48 metre circumference at the top, reducing to a 15 metre circumference at the tail end. This codend has a new, dry weight of 6.8 tonnes, and it expected to hold around 900 tonnes of blue whiting at full capacity. The inner layer is made in 50mm braided Utzon nylon netting, covered with 150mm triple braided Utzon nylon. The back half of the codend is ringed at one metre intervals with restricting strops spliced in 44mm Danline rope.

Hampiðjan expects that this heavyweight Rockall codend will have all the strength needed to handle big hauls taken by large fishing vessels under tough sea conditions.

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