The traditional end-of-the-year mackerel fishery has now finished for the Scottish fleet. Photo: SFPA
The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA) has confirmed traditional end-of-the year mackerel fishery has now finished, with the Scottish fleet reporting good catches of high-quality fish.
Most of the mackerel were taken between Shetland and the North-east Scottish coast, with there being good demand for landings from both home and export markets.
The last vessel to finish the fishery was the new Resolute BF 50, skippered by Alexander and Matthew West. The 69.8m vessel was recently completed by Astilleros Balenciaga shipyard in Spain and is the latest example of the investment by Scottish skippers in ensuring the pelagic fleet is equipped with the latest state-of-the art craft.
Robert Stevenson from Lunar QMG Ltd kindly spoke to The Fishing Daily about the course of the fishing over the season.
“The autumn mackerel fishery for Scottish boats got under way on 30 Sept with the Lunar Bow PD265 and Pathway PD165 being the first away to join the Norwegian purse seine fleet operating in the North Sea east of Shetland/Fair Isle.
“The Norwegian fleet had started by searching much further north in September without finding any significant marks and had come down into the North Sea to try their luck there, following the trend of recent years.
“These two Scottish vessels are the only purse seiners in the Scottish fleet and were using purse gear to ensure the fish was top-quality for the Japanese market where they are competing with supplies from the same Norwegian fleet.
“Other Scottish pelagic trawlers joined the fishery over October, many taking their quotas quickly before others got underway later in the month and landings were spread though-out October and into November; processing plants in Lerwick and Peterhead were kept busy whilst several vessels made regular landings into Norwegian processors.”
“Moderate to good shots of relatively big mackerel were taken in fairly good weather condition over the first three weeks of October with some bigger shots being taken by trawlers towards the end of October and into November.
“After peaking around the beginning of November landings by Scottish vessels declined as the month wore on as vessels took their quotas and the fishery was effectively over by the end of November.”