Iceland confirms the annual capelin survey held in January will be brought forward to this month
Kristján Þór Júlíusson, the Icelandic Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, confirmed to his colleagues at a government meeting that the annual capelin survey held in January will be brought forward to this and will include the use of three commercial fishing vessels.
The Minister referred to the fact that the Ministry of Industry and Innovation recently authorised the Greenlandic pelagic vessel Polar Amaroq to conduct research on capelin within the Icelandic economic zone to the west and north of Iceland during the period 20 to 28 November.
The Marine Research Institute (MRI) has received all the data collected during the expedition and is now processing samples and analysing the data. This work has not been completed, but preliminary results indicate that a considerable amount of mature capelin is found in the western part of the North and all the way east of Kolbeinseyjarhrygg. As the Polar Amaroq’s review of the measurements was very rough, their results could not be the basis for a review of advice from the ICES.
The MRI’s next expedition was scheduled for 15 January 2021 but has now been brought forward. In consultation with the Association of Companies in the Fisheries Sector, three fishing vessels have been secured for the project, as it is not be possible to use the Marine Research Institute’s vessels being in dock for scheduled maintenance work.
The aim to start the project next weekend or early next week. Each ship is expected to spend about six days on the project. The intention is to measure the amount found in the Polar Amaroq survey.
The reason why the MRI considers it appropriate to undertake the survey now as is it is possible that capelin shoals are migrating earlier than in recent years. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was common for capelin to migrate to the east of the country in December. In light of this history and information from the Polar Amaroq survey, it cannot be ruled out that in the coming weeks it will go east of Iceland and by January the fish stock maybe in an area where surveying could be difficult, ie, in the south-eastern part of the country.