Iceland fleet returning with rich post strike hauls

THE first Icelandic fishing company to report back since the end of the 10-week old fishermen’s strike says catches have been good with trawlers returning with  some rich hauls.

The company HB Grandi’s fresher (whitefish) fleet has been working flat out to make up for lost time. According to Heimir Guðbjörnsson, skipper of Helga María, the fish is of  top quality.

He said the Helga María has completed two full capacity trips since the end of the strike and was about to leave for its third trip when  the company spoke to him.

He told their operations department: “We have concentrated on fishing areas here in the south. In the last trip we had 185 tonnes, which is a full capacity trip, made up of saithe, redfish and cod.

“The saithe have been showing on small patches and there are good catches to be had if you can find them. We had a good catch of saithe at the southern end of the Eldey Bank in the first trip and then at the western end of the Selvogur Bank in the last trip. There are the traditional seasonal grounds, and the fish are fine quality and in top condition,

Commenting  on the  average weight of their saithe Skipper  Guðbjörnsson he said saithe had averaged between 5 and 6kg and most of the cod has been between 3 and 5kg.

He  added there was no  indication that the cod or saithe have been feeding on capelin, even though there has been a strong migration of capelin around Reykjanes in the last few days.

“As the  fish get closer to spawning, they stop eating, so we expect that there isn’t long before this fish that has been there will spawn,” the skipper concluded.

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