Atlanto-Scandian herring season about to finish
One of HB Grandi’s pelagic vessels, Faxi RE, was yesterday still fishing herring deep off the east of Iceland. Lundey NS was then steaming home, having finished its last trip of the season and Ingunn AK had already finished its season, docking at Vopnafjördur on Monday with 900 tonnes on board that has now been pumped ashore.
According to Róbert Axelsson, who was skipper on board Ingunn during its last herring trip, there was good fishing deep east of Iceland last weekend.
‘The herring are moving fast eastwards and we went as far as 9°E, which is 150 nautical miles from Vopnafjördur. There is herring there closer to the surface, but the marks are weaker and that’s where we finished the trip,’ he said, commenting that at that distance from land the water depth is 600 to 700 fathoms.
‘The herring rise at dusk and the best fishing is through the night. At daybreak the herring retreat back into deeper water. We have two trawls and switch them according to conditions. At night we were towing close to the surface and at night we had to take the other trawl down to 120 fathoms to get any results,’ Róbert Axelsson said.
The herring caught in the last few days is large, good quality fish and samples on board Ingunn indicate an average weight of 400 grammes. There was minimal by-catch this trip, apart from some blue whiting and a small amount of mackerel with the herring in the first two hauls.
Last weekend the HB Grandi fleet had 2800 tonnes of herring still to be caught of its 8500 tonne quota for the season. It seems likely that catches over the weekend and into this week will account for what remains of the quota. The company’s mackerel quota has also been caught. Next is fishing for Icelandic summer-spawning herring that is expected to start in early October.