norwegian pelagic week 02 2024

Week 02 of 2024 – Norwegian Pelagic fishing report – Abundant Herring from the North and Mackerel from the West. Photo: Norges Sildesalgslag/Helge Skavlan (2018)

The Norwegian pelagic fleet found abundant herring in northern waters and there was plenty of mackerel coming from the west in week 02 of 2024, according to Kenneth Garvik from Norges Sildesalgslag (the Norwegian Herring Sales Team).

 

Norwegian Spring-Spawning Herring (NVG-Herring):

The past week has proven prosperous for herring fishing in the north, recording a total of 25,200 tonnes in the logbook. A diverse fleet of 52 boats, ranging from small to large, participated in herring fishing, with coastal vessels contributing 12,900 tonnes, purse seiners 11,600 tonnes, and trawlers 700 tonnes. Catch sizes varied significantly, from a minimum of 5 tonnes to an impressive maximum of 1,200 tonnes.

The fishing activity primarily centred around Kvænangen, with coastal vessels operating in the inner part and purse seiners in the outer part, including the Lopphavet area. Some individual catches were reported from Altafjorden. The uneven nature of the fishing is attributed to herring spending prolonged periods at deeper depths, proving elusive for nets. However, fortunate vessels that located high and relatively stationary herring schools managed single catches exceeding 1,000 tonnes.

The average size of the herring ranged from 250g to a peak of 300g, with the weekly average settling at 284g. Buyers have reported that the herring maintains good quality, characterised by ample fat content, making it suitable for filleting and catering to premium markets. Expectations are high for continued participation in herring fishing in the upcoming week, with intrigue surrounding the herring’s migration from fjord systems to spawning grounds.

 

Mackerel:

Foreign vessels have initiated winter mackerel fishing with nine different boats reporting 14,700 tonnes for delivery in Norway. These vessels bring substantial catches, ranging from 870 tonnes to an impressive 2,280 tonnes.

The fishing activity took place northwest of the Orkney Islands, with fishermen reporting intermittent abundance of mackerel, leading to short but substantial trawl hauls. Mackerel sizes varied between 381g and 460g. Winter-caught mackerel tends to be hardier against trawling, and the reported quality is deemed excellent, with the Asian market also accepting the fish.

Further mackerel deliveries from foreign vessels are anticipated throughout January.

 

Blue Whiting:

Since the new year, blue whiting vessels from Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland have been in Faroese waters fishing for blue whiting. Blue whiting is currently scattered, and fishing has been inconsistent, with long tows for the vessels. The three Norwegian vessels have a quota in Faroese waters of 1,300 tonnes.

A total of 8,900 tonnes were reported last week, distributed among three Norwegian vessels with 3,500 tonnes and two Faroese vessels with 5,400 tonnes. While no additional Norwegian vessels have set course for blue whiting, more Faroese vessels may arrive in Norway in the coming week.

 

North Sea Herring:

Two vessels from the same shipping company, “Krossøy” and “Havdrøn,” have been fishing herring in the North Sea, with respective catches of 400 tonnes and 500 tonnes east of Koralbanken, comparable to Jæren.

The herring in this area has an average weight of around 140g and is destined for consumption. The North Sea herring quota this year is significantly larger at 150,830 tonnes compared to 117,171 tonnes last year. With an allowance to fish 20,000 tonnes in British waters and the need to fish more in the Norwegian zone this year, attention will be on the availability of North Sea herring in the winter.

 

Coastal Sprat:

Sprat has been targeted by vessels in both the West Coast Fjords and the Oslo Fjord. Two vessels reported catches of 33 tonnes in Hardanger, 35 tonnes in Sogn, and a substantial 260 tonnes from the outer Oslo Fjord.

Sprat on the West Coast is smaller, with a size range of 97-113 pieces per kilogram, making it ideal for canning. In the east, the sizes range from 60-63 pieces per kilogram, perfect for ‘Christmas anchovies’.

 

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