Iceland's groundfish fleet on a roll
It's been quite a productive harvest for Iceland's groundfish fleet, HB Grandi, the country's largest fishing-quota holder, reported on Friday.
With the exception of haddock, Iceland's groundfish fleet is catching more fish than it was a year ago.
"We can't be anything but satisfied with the trawlers this summer. Fishing has been good across all species," said Birkir Hrannar Hjálmarsson, head of HB Grandi's groundfish trawlers. "Haddock has been the only one that's been a problem, as there hasn't been a lot of this in the areas our trawlers have been fishing."
The redfish catch has been particularly strong.
"We didn't expect much, as last year's season was very poor, to say the least," said Hjálmarsson. "Over the last few years the redfish on the Reykjanes Ridge has been there from around the middle of May onwards and has normally not lasted longer than the first week of July. This year we were able to fish up to the beginning of August, by which time our trawlers had caught their quotas. HB Grandi had four trawlers on redfish and its catch was close to 6,800 [metric] tons. This was a fantastic bonus and hopefully an indication that the stock's condition is good."
After the end of the redfish season, Venus HF left to fish in the Russian and Norwegian zones of the Barents Sea to catch HB Grandi's quotas there.
Meanwhile, the company's freezer trawlers are now targeting groundfish west of Iceland, and, with the exception of haddock, fishing has been "excellent."
"The trawlers are getting mixed fish," said Hjálmarsson. "There's less haddock than there was this time last year, and it doesn't help that there's a lot of cod out there that makes it more difficult to get haddock and saithe."
HB Grandi holds 5 percent of Iceland's cod quota (5,200 metric tons), 18 percent of the Barents Sea cod quota (800 metric tons), 7 percent of Iceland's haddock quota (5,300 metric tons), 18 percent of the saithe quota (10,700 metric tons), 32 percent of the redfish quota (18,200 metric tons) and 31 percent of the oceanic redfish quota (6,400 metric tons).