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Photo: Sigve Aarland/ Norges Sildesalgslag

The Norwegian Pelagic Fishing Course in Week 24

Click on the flag for more information about Norway NORWAY
Tuesday, June 18, 2024, 06:50 (GMT + 9)

Low herring catch in the North Sea, and large mackerel in the north.

North Sea Herring:

The beginning of the week saw most boats anchored in port due to strong northerly winds. Once the winds subsided, many boats ventured out in search of herring in the North Sea. However, the results have been disappointing, with the fleet landing only 3,000 tonnes—significantly lower than the five-year average of 16,000 tonnes for the same week.

Fishing operations have spanned from east of Patch Bank to the south of Viking Bank. Fishermen report scarce herring and extensive searching across a vast area in the Norwegian zone. Similarly, foreign vessels in British waters have reported minimal herring sightings.

Of this week’s catch, around 1,900 tonnes have been sold for consumption. Catches, primarily made with trawls, range from 60 to 230 tonnes. The herring size varies from 140 to 165 grams, making it suitable for 'matjes' (Dutch delicatessen) herring production.

Both fishermen and buyers are frustrated, as the daily catch needed for consumption should match this week’s total catch. Processing plants, fully staffed, lack herring to process. As a result, several boats are considering staying docked for a few days due to the high cost of fishing compared to the low returns.

Mackerel:

In addition to traditional fisheries along the Vestland coast, several boats, both large and small, have headed north for mackerel fishing. Last week, nearly 50 boats caught 1,200 tonnes of mackerel near the coast, with around 1,000 tonnes from Vestfjorden.

In the north, fishermen report dispersed schools of small mackerel, requiring numerous casts to gather a decent quantity. Catches range from 5 to 80 tonnes.

As in previous years, the mackerel caught in the north are large, averaging 500 to 640 grams. The fish are reportedly plump and well-fed. In the south, smaller mackerel, between 300 and 450 grams, are being caught from Strand municipality in the south to Kinn in the north.

In the coming weeks, increased participation is expected in the north, with hopes that the mackerel will gather in larger schools to enable substantial catches.

Blue Whiting:

Last week saw few boats engaged in blue whiting fishing, with a total of 1,500 tonnes reported. This total includes catches by four boats fishing on “Kanten” and 660 tonnes taken by “Harald Johan” from the Norwegian Sea.

Boats on “Kanten” also caught some Atlantic horse mackerel and Norway pout. One vessel, “Sille Marie,” ventured south for sprat without significant results.

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