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21.01.2013

Humpbacks main threat to capelin stock

‘It doesn’t look all that good right now. There’s less capelin around here in the east than we had hoped to see. But it’s not so much that I’m worried about as the schools of humpback whales that are chasing the capelin. Humpbacks follow capelin and after the water temperature increased, I have a gut feeling that the humpbacks will follow the capelin all the way south and west of Iceland,’ said Gudlaugur Jónsson, skipper of Ingunn AK.


The ship is now alongside at Vopnafjördur to discharge around 1000 tonnes of capelin that were caught off Borgarfjördur (East), which is roughly 90 nautical miles from Vopnafjördur. Gudlaugur Jónsson said that it’s clear that even though there is capelin everywhere, there aren’t the amounts that the skippers had been hoping for. He expects more capelin to turn up in the east after migrating along the north coast. Research vessel Árni Fridriksson sailed from Reydarfjördur this morning to search for capelin, as the previous research trip was unsuccessful, partly due to sea ice north of the Westfjords.


According to Gudlaugur Jónsson, the capelin they have been catching is large and in good condition. There is very little feed in the fish these last few days, making it perfect for freezing.


‘This is the biggest capelin I remember seeing and it’s similar to the capelin that used to be caught in Canada when there was a fishery there,’ he said, commenting that he expects to be finished discharging tomorrow, leaving them free for the next trip. Lundey NS sailed from Vopnafjördur this morning and as well as Ingunn, Faxi RE is in port. The coupling between the gearbox and the shaft generator failed during the last trip and Faxi’s crew have been waiting for spare parts to be delivered. They expect to be able to sail tonight.

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