HB Grandi’s pelagic vessel Víkingur

Roe freezing in underway

HB Grandi pelagic vessels in port

The short roe season that is the high point of Iceland’s capelin season is now well under way, with roe processing in progress at several locations. HB Grandi’s production is underway in Akranes, roe is being processing the Westmann Islands and Síldarvinnslan is producing capelin roe landed and processed at Helguvík, and frozen at Saltver’s factory in Reykjanesbær, as well as producing roe capelin in Neskaupstaður.

Síldarvinnslan’s production started with 1500 tonnes of capelin landed in Helguvík by Samherji’s pelagic vessel Vilhelm Thorsteinsson, which followed a 900 tonne landing by Greenlandic pelagic vessel Polar Amaroq.

In the east, Síldarvinnslan’s Börkur is landing 2000 tonnes of capelin and processing for roe is in progress at Neskaupstaður.

According to skipper Hjörvar Hjálmarsson, the catch was taken in seven shots over two days off the west coast and the fish have a 26-27% roe content with a 95-100% maturity, making them ideal for roe extraction.

HB Grandi’s pelagic vessels are fishing on these same grounds and landing their catches at Akranes for processing.

According to Víkingur’s skipper Albert Sveinsson, fishing has been good, but the capelin are far from easy to handle.

‘There are good marks, and in between we’re steaming and searching. Now it’s all about capelin roe maturity, and it doesn’t seem to be the rule that the the maturity is most developed in the capelin that are at the head of the migration. This has come as a surprise, and many skippers have been waiting to for the last lap of the season until the capelin reach particular areas,’ he said.

‘There’s a strange situation with the capelin. It’s in distinct marks, and there’s nothing to be seen in between. There was fishing on a large mark west of the Snæfells glacier yesterday, but it was tight there and not easy to manoeuvre.’

He said that everyone is searching for the capelin with the most mature roe. In its last trip, Víkingur’s catch had a 90% maturity, and it was 80% in the trip before that.

‘There isn’t long left. Some of the capelin are already spawning and the roe content in the lead of the migration is 25-27%. There was a report of a mark off Reykjanes yesterday, and hopefully there’s more capelin that will show up as it moves westwards along the south coast.’

Source: Síldarvinnslan/HB Grandi