Big herring fishing in the north and a moderate mackerel catch reports the Norwegian pelagic sales team in Week 42 of 2023. Photo: Norges Silgesalgslag/MS Tunkfisk 2022
“Fantastic haul in northern herring fishing, and a moderate mackerel catch,” reports Kenneth Garvik of Norges Sildesalgslag on the pelagic fishing for Week 42 of 2023.
Norwegian Spring-Spawning Herring (NVG-sild):
It was a fantastic week for herring fishing, with a remarkable 36,200 tonnes recorded in the logbooks. The best day was on Sunday, with a haul of 13,600 tonnes. The larger vessels from the purse seine fleet have been the most significant contributors, hauling in a whopping 26,500 tonnes. The coastal fleet reported 7,100 tonnes, and the SUK contributed 2,400 tonnes. Two Irish trawlers also landed 300 tonnes of herring. No vessels from the trawl fleet were engaged in herring fishing in the north last week.
Herring arrived early on the coast of Northern Troms this year, and the herring fishing has taken place from 15 nautical miles north of Torsvåg further into the Lopphavet and beyond the fjord lines in the outer parts of Kvænangen. The herring was found in varying concentrations last week, schooling deep during the daytime, rising when darkness fell, and spreading out during the twilight hours. The best catches were made in the late afternoon, with some boats making hauls of over 1,000 tonnes.
The majority of the herring being caught belongs to the 2016 year class, representing excellent herring with sizes ranging from 273 grams at the lowest to 328 grams at the highest, with an average of 308 grams. Most of the herring is now being processed into fillets, and buyers are reporting high demand for these quality fillet products in global markets.
There is approximately 170,000 tonnes of the quota left from our 388,490-tonne allocation. This is about 40,000 tonnes less than the same time last year. With two months to go until Christmas, there is ample time to secure the herring quota.
We anticipate continued strong participation in northern herring fishing, with both purse seine vessels and larger coastal vessels set to continue. For the smaller coastal fleet, which relies on transport vessels, they will mainly be in place in early November.
The mackerel catch for the week was moderate, with a total of 22,300 tonnes reported. The best daily catch was on Monday, with 12,000 tonnes. As expected, more foreign vessels are now involved in mackerel fishing. Of this week’s quantity, 7,100 tonnes come from seven different foreign vessels, with the largest haul exceeding 2,100 tonnes. From Norwegian fleet groups, purse seiners contributed 10,000 tonnes, trawlers 2,700 tonnes, coastal vessels 2,100 tonnes, and Seine- and Danish Seine users (SUK) added 400 tonnes.
In the British waters, where our quota stands at 135,141 tonnes, there are now only slightly over 500 tonnes left. This remaining quota is primarily from the trawl fleet, as fishing for the other groups was closed on Friday.
North Sea Herring (Nordsjøsild):
Several vessels have shifted from mackerel fishing to herring in the North Sea. A total of 2,500 tonnes of herring have been caught, with the majority, 2,300 tonnes, designated for consumption.
Fishing has taken place in two areas within the Norwegian zone. One area is around Viking Bank, located west of Bergen, while the other is further south in the Koral Bank area, equivalent to the region around Stavanger.
The herring caught in these areas has been of high quality, with sizes ranging from just under 170 grams to over 220 grams in the northernmost field. There are 14,000 tonnes remaining from the North Sea herring quota of 117,171 tonnes. Vessels with quotas remaining will continue to seek both mackerel and herring in the North Sea.
Fishing on “The Edge” (“Kanten”):
There were only a few vessels on “The Edge” last week, and from three boats, a catch of 280 tonnes of blue whiting (kolmule), 190 tonnes of Norway pout (øyepål), as well as small quantities of Norwegian spring-spawning herring and horse mackerel, was recorded.