An international fleet from Norway, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands and Russia are fishing blue whiting south-west of Ireland. Photo: Norges Sildesalgslag
The Blue Whiting season has kicked-off in earnest as the weather in the North-East Atlantic improves, with boats reporting good fishing reported south-west of Ireland .
Fishing vessels from Norway, Iceland, Faeroe Islands, Russia, the UK and several other countries are making catches both west and north of the Porcupine Bank in EU waters.
Norges Sildesalgslag (Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organisation for Pelagic Fish) have reported 40,200 tonnes of blue whiting registered this week. That is a big increase on the 10,670 registered the previous week during the bad weather.
17 vessels caught a total of 32,300 tonnes in international waters, and the remaining 7,900 tonnes was caught by five different vessels both west and north of the Porcupine Bank in EU waters.
A Norges Sildesalgslag spokesperson said “We’re expecting more vessels to come through and hoping that the weather gives us decent working conditions.”
In Iceland the ‘Ólafsson AK’ arrived in Neskaupstadur yesterday with the first blue whiting caught from the west of Ireland. The boat was loaded with 1,700 tonnes.
Following her, the ‘Bork NK’ landed with 2,300 tonnes and then Margrét EA is landing 2,000 tonnes in Seyðisfjörður. ‘Baitir NK’ also landed with over 3,000 tonnes.
Speaking to Síldvarvinnslan hf, Gísla Runólfsson, skipper of ‘Bjarni Ólafsson’, was asked about the long trip to the west of Ireland, an 800 mile round trip.
“The voyage took no less than four and a half days. The first two days were good, but then the octagonal weather and the ten-meter wave hit. We just chatted loudly for two days. There is a decent hunt there on the fish when the weather is fine, but the fact is that this is a disgusting area for the weather. Bless me if you don’t get too old for this, “says Gísli.