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05.05.2009

Around Iceland in 28 days

‘It’s been a pretty good trip, but we’ve had to work hard for our fish. This trip took us right round the country, which is  unusual,’ said Heimir Gudbjörnsson, chief mate and relief skipper of HB Grandi’s factory freezer trawler Helga María AK, which has just docked after 28 days at sea. The trip’s catch value is estimated at 105 million IKR.

He said that the emphasis this trip was on catching haddock and saithe, but fishing for saithe has been slow since the beginning of the year.

‘It’s been a struggle to find saithe in amounts that are worth catching, although we managed it eventually. Altogether, we had around 100 tonnes of haddock and about the same of saithe, as well as 130 tonnes of cod and a little bit more than that of redfish,’ said Heimir Gudbjörnsson, commenting that the trip started off on the Eldey Bank and the so-called ‘Belgian Patch’ south of the bank itself. Over a week on these two areas, they had mostly haddock and redfish, plus some saithe.

‘From there we went north to the Kögur grounds west of the Ísafjördur Deeps. There was plenty of haddock there and a few area closures as there was some small cod about as well. We decided to shift to the east coast grounds and started on the Digranes area off Vopnafjördur where we took 50 tonnes of haddock in two days. Conditions there were unusual in that the sea temperature was abnormally low at only 0°C to 2°C and the haddock kept to where the water was warmer.’

The next point was the Berufjördur Gully, where Heimir Gudbjörnsson said that there was some saithe fishing, but in no large volumes.

‘We decided to try the Thors Bank, where we had some saithe, and also the cod that we have been seeing on all of our fishing grounds,’ he said and added that to finish the trip, he decided to steam along the south coast, closing the ring around the country four weeks after the trip began.

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