Icelandic fleet gearing up for mackerel71,000 tonnes of blue whiting have been landed to Síldarvinnslan this year. Photo: Síldarvinnslan

The 1500 tonnes of blue whiting landed earlier this week by pelagic vessel Margrét is expected to be the last for a while as the Icelandic pelagic fleet fits out for the coming mackerel season. Fishing for blue whiting is expected to resume towards the end of the year.

The Icelandic fleet has landed a total of 181,761 tonnes of blue whiting this year, with 65,132 tonnes remaining of this year’s quotas.

East coast fishing and processing company Síldarvinnslan has taken delivery of 71,000 tonnes of blue whiting this year, all of which has been processed to produce fishmeal and fish oil, with approximately 54,000 tonnes landed to the company’s Neskaupstaður factory and 17,400 tonnes to the plant in Seyðisfjörður.

Síldarvinnslan’s fishing vessels account for the bulk of these landings. Börkur landed 17,497 tonnes, while Beitir was close behind with 16,070 tonnes and Bjarni Ólafsson landed 14,731 tonnes. In addition, Margrét has landed 13,731 tonnes to Síldarvinnslan’s processing plants and Hákon has landed 11,183 tonnes, alongside freezing part of its catches at sea.

According to Hjörvar Hjálmarsson, skipper of top catcher Börkur, this year’s fishing for blue whiting has been characterised by bad weather and smaller catches.

“When we were fishing west of Ireland the weather was very bad and that had an effect on fishing. These have been smaller catches than in previous years in the Faroese EEZ,” he said.

“The fish also migrated a long way to the east and more than likely a large proportion of the migration was on the Shetland and Norwegian side of the line, which explains less fishing in Faroese waters.”

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