The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA) has announced the end of the blue whiting fishing for the Scottish pelagic fleet.
The Association reports that the Scottish fleet has successfully completed its annual blue whiting fishery in the North Atlantic to the West of Ireland and Scotland.
About a quarter of the Scots pelagic fleet engage in the fishery each year, with catches landed into Killybegs in Donegal, and Peterhead. Some of the Peterhead landings were destined for the human consumption market in West Africa.
For Scottish mackerel and herring fishermen, blue whiting forms an important annual eight week fishery that generally starts in February. For those factories that process blue whiting, it fills-in what would otherwise be a quiet period when there is no mackerel and herring fishing going on.
Blue whiting is technically a difficult fishery to operate in, and skippers need to exhibit great skill and perseverance when fishing.
A member of the cod family, the blue whiting is a medium sized fish that is typically about 22 to 30cm in length, although they can grow larger. They are rather unusual in that unlike their cousins the cod and haddock, which are found on the seabed, blue whiting are largely midwater swimmers and behave more like pelagic fish such as herring and mackerel. They form large shoals at depths of around 400m along the continental shelf.