Week 48 of 2023 for the Norwegian pelagic fleet sees the NVG herring fishery drawing to a close in the north but improvements for North Sea herring in the south. Photo: Norges Sildesalgslag/Kasper Holme Mæland (2023)
Herring fishing in the north is coming to an end, but better gathering of North Sea herring, reports Kennth Garvik from Norges Sildesalgslag for week 48 of 2023.
As anticipated, the herring catch in the North this week was modest, totalling 7,800 tonnes for the entire week. Apart from an 800-tonne purse-seine catch, the coastal fleet has been the primary contributor this week. Among these, the smallest boats, reliant on carrier vessels, have fished approximately 3,000 tonnes.
Herring fishing in the north has taken place in various locations, including Kvænangen, off Lyngen, in Øksfjorden, and near Alta. The sizes remain consistent with those seen earlier this fall, ranging from 280 to 320 grams, with an average of 294 grams.
Herring catches have also been reported further south, in the municipalities of Hitra/Frøya on the Trøndelag coast and in Meløy on the Helgeland coast. The herring here are slightly smaller, with average sizes ranging from 240 to 280 grams..
With this week’s catches, the annual quota of 388,490 tonnes has been reached, with a 2,500 tonne flex burden for next year.
Regarding carrier vessels collecting herring for the smallest coastal fleet and pumping directly from the net, the last one was nearly loaded on Sunday evening. Throughout the fall, there have been 17 carrier operations with a total quantity of 13,700 tonnes.
Very modest herring catches are expected in December, as boat quotas are largely secured.
North Sea Herring:
Several boats still had quotas for North Sea herring, especially in the Norwegian zone. From six purse-seine boats, 3,400 tonnes were caught, and one in the SUK category took 125 tonnes in the British zone.
Boats fishing in the Norwegian zone have operated from Patchbanken and southeastward to Revet, roughly aligned with Stavanger to Egersund. There are reports of periodically abundant herring in this area, with net casts exceeding 700 tonnes, which is somewhat unusual for this time.
Sizes of North Sea herring range from 140 to 160 grams, and consumer interest remains strong.
A look at the quota status reveals that the quota for all groups, totalling 117,171 tonnes, has been reached. There may be a “catch or two” in December.
This week, coastal boats have been on spratt hunts in various fjords. From the Oslo Fjord area, around 150 tonnes were caught for seasoning, while 25 tonnes were captured in the Sognefjord for canning.
In the Trondheim Fjord, one boat (Storegg) conducting experimental fishing since the Institute of Marine Research had to cancel its planned sprat survey. They managed to catch 50 tonnes of capelin with sizes averaging 62 pieces per kilogram.
The most patient are pursuing horse mackerel in the fjords along the West Coast and Rogaland. From four different boats, just under 90 tonnes of large horse mackerel were caught.
Fishery on “The Edge”:
Only ‘Piraja’ reported catches from “The Edge” last week, with 145 tonnes of blue whiting and 100 tonnes of Norway pout, along with small quantities of other species.