The Norwegian 2020 Sandeel Season closes with the fleet registering 244,404 tonnes out of the allocated 250,000 tonnes
The 2020 sandeel season has ended for the Norwegian fleet with 244,404 tonnes being registered on the landing books, just 6,000 tonnes under the total allocation.
The fleet had a successful season running from 01 April until 23 June with fishing vessels operating in Area 3r, off the south-west coast of Norway.
The fishing had been generally steady with an initial quota of 70,000 tonnes being allocated. By early May, this quota was revised to 110,00o tonnes but by the mid-May at the Final Quota Council meeting, the quota was more than doubled to 250,000 tonnes.
This took many in the fishery by surprise as a large increase with one skipper remarking “This is fantastic news for us in the trawl fleet,”
The best week was on week 22 when more than 37,300 tonnes was caught; more than 29,000 tonnes was taken from the waters at Klondyke alone, leading to the largest landing of sandeel to be recorded since electronic recording began back in 2002.
The following week was another bumper week with 34,000 tonnes being recorded. On Wednesday of that week, approximately 12,600 tonnes was caught on the one day.
Nearly all of the sandeel landed went to fishmeal processing or fish oil processing in Norwegain plants.
The Sandeel Fishery is controversial with many groups calling for a ban on it. Sandeel is an essential food for many other fish and bird species with campaigners claiming that by extracting such huge numbers of sandeel from the sea, it is depriving other wildlife of essential feeding. Some campaigners have gone so far as to blame the collapse of the North Sea Cod stocks on the fishery.
In the European Union, Denmark holds nearly all the quota for sandeel. For 2020, the AGRIFISH Council granted the Member State a quota of 260,000 tonnes.