The Icelandic lumpfish season will come to a premature end as the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Kristján Þór Júlíusson has signed a regulation that will see the fisheries tomorrow, Sunday.
The reason is that the fishery will soon be approached by the MRI’s advice that the total catch for this fishing year should not exceed 4,646 tonnes.
The regulation states that lumpfish fishing will be banned from midnight on the eve of Sunday, May 3, 2020.
However, lumpfish fishing licenses may be issued for up to 15 days to those who did lumpfish fishing in 2018 or 2019 in Breiðafjörður, Area 2, according to licenses that entered into force on or after 20 May of those years.
This is done to meet the lumpfish fishermen who will be fishing in this area, but that fishing will not be allowed until 20 May.
Kristján Þór Júlíusson, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture:
“The MRI issued 4,646 tonnes of lumpfish fishing advice during this fishing year. This Regulation is to ensure that fishing is in accordance with scientific advice and is important for all concerned. Not least to ensure that the existing certifications are not lost. “
According to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Lumpfish is a solitary demersal species that lives in temperate and cold waters at high latitudes and have a large, squat body, and typically grows to a body length of about 50 cm. The body is covered by tubercles as opposed to scales.
The Icelandic lumpfish fishery was the first in the world to be MSC certified. Although some other lumpfish stocks have faced challenges, the Icelandic lumpfish fisheries have been relatively stable since 1990.
Lumpfish is generally fished by using gill nets or tangle nets and is usually carried out by the inshore fleet of small decked or open boats, which fish the speices in fjords around the coast of Iceland. The only gear permitted are special large-mesh gillnets with a mesh size of 267-292mm. These mainly target the females for their roe, which is exported as a luxury caviar mainly to European countries. There is also a growing Chinese market for the female fish. The smaller male lumpfish is less frequently caught, mostly for traditional local consumption.
The lumpfish fishery is controlled by various measures that include restrictions on the number of licenses and nets, a fishing season of three months only, as well as limitations on vessel and mesh sizes.
Source: Icelandic Government