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17.08.2008

Good fishing on redfish and saithe

'Catches have been reasonable, although they could still be better. But this time of year is always difficult and it's always a struggle to bring in enough to keep production ashore going,'
says skipper Ólafur Einarsson of HB Grandi's fresher trawler Ásbjörn when we spoke to him last Friday.

Ásbjörn landed 140 tonnes of fish in Reykjavík on Wednesday night and sailed, as usual, on Friday evening. Ólafur Einarsson and his crew fish mostly on the 'mountain' grounds and the Reykjanes Ridge, where HB Grandi's skippers have a great deal of experience and knowledge that makes a difference in bringing ashore the fish that the company's shore processing needs. But Ólafur Einarsson says he is still learns something new every trip, as these fishing grounds aren't for everyone and can not stand too much fishing effort. Catches can vary between seasons and can even be very variable from one five-day trip to the next.

'This is an enjoyable and satisfying sort of work. But unfortunately, earnings have not risen much in the last few years, which makes it harder to keep a good crew,' says Ólafur Einarsson.

For many years, Ásbjörn RE was Iceland's top-catching trawler and generally at the top, even when compared to the factory vessels. But catch values are not reflected by the catch volumes, as Ásbjörn's main target species of redfish and saithe are relatively low-value species compared to cod, and Ásbjörn rarely sees other species than redfish and saithe.

'We might get a bit of haddock if we work shallower water, but the other species we see in our catches can be counted on your fingers,' says Ólafur Einarsson.

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