Photo: Jan de Lange / Institute of Marine Research

Norwegian pelagic boats have gone fishing capelin off Iceland in Week 4 of 2023

Capelin fishing in Iceland, herring from the north, mackerel and blue whiting from the west in week 4 of 2023 reports Kenneth Garvik from Norges Sildesalgslag.

NVG herring:
As expected, it was a week with a lower quantity than the two previous weeks. In total, we have registered 11,100 tonnes. The best entry day was Friday with 3,100 tonnes.
Of the week’s quantity, the coast has contributed 6,200 tonnes, from ring seines 3,300 tonnes and trawls 1,600 tonnes. The smallest boats that set locks on Kvænangen finished their fishing the week before this.

The fishing in the north has taken place both inside Kvænangen, as well as further out to sea. At Kvænangen, the fishermen report that the herring is thinning out and that it is on the move. Still, we see that it has been in the fjord longer than last year. The last catch for the week was from there on Sunday (29.01) compared to last year when the last catch was on 26 January.

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From the sea, the boats have fished from the west of Sørøya and out to 50 nautical miles north-west of Torsvåg. On Sunday evening, it is reported that the herring have now more clearly set their course to the south, and several from the trawl group are at work 60 nautical miles north of Andenes.

It is very smooth herring that is fished for, where the average weight is in the range of 255 – 285 grams. A weighted average shows 273 grams.

For the large herring, which are hopefully west of Lofoten and on their way to the coast, there has been no catching last week. A couple of boats have searched this area without success.

In the coming week, we expect that herring fishing will mainly take place at sea. For ring seine and coast, there will be fewer boats in herring fishing. While several from the trawl group will now start their herring fishing.

We had another week where the foreign boats fished mackerel for delivery in Norway. 11,800 tonnes have been landed from ten different boats. They bring good catches, and the catch sizes vary from 590 tonnes to 1,800 tonnes.

The fishing has taken place in a small area around 60 nautical miles north-west of the Orkney Islands. The mackerel have been bigger last week than earlier in January. The average weights have varied from 393 gram as the lowest to 430 gram as the highest, with 408 gram as the overall average.

As several of the boats are in port with their quotas, or what they intend to fish this winter, we expect modest mackerel quantities going forward.

Otherwise, we can mention that coastal boats hunting horse mackerel/herring on the coast came across mackerel north of Bergen. They got usable catches of large mackerel.

For horse mackerel, boats from Rogaland in the south to Vestland in the north have fished 64 tonnes distributed among eight different boats. Several people report less horse mackerel this year and that there is a lot of searching to find something.

Capelin – Iceland:
On Wednesday, the first boat (Eros) set course for the capelin field in Iceland. On Saturday morning, the boats got to work, and from three boats, more than 2,000 tonnes have been registered.

The boats reported and usable with capelin where a cast of over 500 tonnes had been taken. The sizes of the capelin are good with average sizes of just under 40pc/kg. Little feed is reported, and a roe maturation of around 8%.

The three catches have been sold for consumption to buyers in Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.
In the coming week, several will set course for Iceland.

Blue whiting:
Throughout January there has been very good blue whiting fishing for the Faroese and Icelandic blue whiting boats.

Several boats have had several loads and there was eventually a long wait for unloading flour/oil in the Faroe Islands. Initially, these boats are to deliver blue whiting to the Faroe Islands, but if there is a long wait, permission is given to land in other countries.

Last week we had four boats at the auction with quantities from 1,950 tonnes to 2,450 tonnes. A total of 9,000 tonnes were registered last week.

Coastal sprat:
We register that sprat fishing in the fjords shifts in time from fishing in mid-autumn to more fishing in late autumn and winter. It was therefore positive that fishing was extended to also apply to January.

Last week, 90 tonnes were fished, of which 67 tonnes were fished from the Sognefjord and the remaining 24 tonnes in the Oslofjord.

This amount reached the quota in the Sognefjord.

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Norwegian pelagic fishing capelin off Iceland in Week 4 of 2023

by editor time to read: 7 min