The Norwegian mackerel season is in progress during week 34 of 2023 with 23,900 tonnes registered

The Norwegian mackerel season is in progress during week 34 of 2023 with 23,900 tonnes registered. Photo: Norges Sildesalgslag\Fiskebas 2023

“Mackerel fishing is well underway in the Norwegian Sea, and some herring from the North Sea,” reports Kenneth Garvik, Sales Manager with Norges Sildesalgslag.



The main season for mackerel is now in progress, and we have a total of 23,900 tonnes recorded. Of this, 15,800 tonnes are for consumption and just over 8,000 tonnes for meal/oil. The best catch day was Thursday with 7,900 tonnes.

Fishing in the Norwegian Sea started in the area N 64⁰ 40′ E 01⁰ 00′, which is nearly 200 nautical miles northwest of Ålesund. As the week progressed, the fleet and fishing moved about 80 nautical miles south, so they are now situated around 160 nautical miles off Møre.

Along the coast from Møre in the north, extending southwards to Rogaland, the smaller mackerel fleet has caught around 1,000 tonnes. Fishermen report somewhat uneven fishing here and are hoping for more mackerel to come in from the sea. Sizes along the coast range from 160 to 350 grams. One boat caught a couple of large mackerel (520 g) in Nordland.

The mackerel caught in the Norwegian Sea is of good size, with average weights ranging from 390g to 450g. It was reported that there would be little food until August, but this suggests that it has had plenty of food throughout the summer, as it is round in shape and has a fine texture to the flesh. There’s significant interest in buying mackerel, and expectations of strong demand from global markets are contributing to record prices at auctions.

Regarding catches for meal/oil, four Faroese boats have contributed to this week’s quota. The mackerel here is caught in the Smutthavet (Smugunn) where there is an armada of boats from several countries hunting mackerel. In total, we registered 26,700 t of mackerel from the Faroes and one Icelandic boat during the summer. All of these have been processed into meal/oil.

In the coming weeks, Norwegian fishermen will primarily focus on mackerel fishing, and with good weather and accessibility, we anticipate good weekly quantities ahead.


North Sea Herring:

This week also saw a considerable number of boats fishing North Sea herring, and we have reported 8,900 tonnes from 26 boats last week. Of this quantity, two foreign boats have contributed a substantial 2,300 tonnes.

The fishing has taken place in various areas, with varying sizes and different uses for the herring. From the British zone, where boats mainly fished for consumption, the average sizes range from 210 to 235 grams. These catches were mostly made with trawls.

In the Norwegian zone, fishing has occurred in different areas, with a few catches in the northern North Sea of large herring for consumption. Later in the week, this herring disappeared, and the boats moved southeast towards the area near Skagerrak. Here, the herring has been smaller and processed for meal/oil use.

After a successful August for herring, Norwegian fishermen have now caught 97,300 tonnes out of the quota of 117,200 tonnes. We expect that only a few Norwegian boats will continue to fish herring in the North Sea, as ‘mackerel fever’ has taken hold of most fishermen.


Blue Whiting/Norway pout/ Norwegian Spring Spawning Herring (NVG-Sild):

From ‘The Edge,’ five boats have caught 1,400 tonnes of blue whiting as the largest quantity. We have 520 tonnes of Norway pout, 200 tonnes of horse mackerel, and 190 tonnes of Norwegian spring spawning herring.

These boats also fish for whitefish on the same trips, and with good prices for whitefish, several have had successful trips on ‘The Edge’ this summer.


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