Fishermen in mackerel quota plea –

Fishermen in mackerel quota plea Published:  21 August, 2009

ICELAND’S fishermen are finding mackerel in such huge quantities that they have sent a plea to their government to increase this year’s quota.

The abundance of mackerel remains something of a mystery, but it is causing a problem for the trawlers fleets because they cannot avoid picking it up as a by-catch.

This year’s self-imposed quota of 112,000 tones has virtually been used up. Now the National Federation of Fishing Vessel Owners has asked the Minister of Fisheries to issue a new quota with immediate effect, but as yet there has been no decision.

The HB Grandi pelagic fleet a few days ago reported that the mackerel ‘were in a feeding frenzy’ off the Westmann Islands in Iceland.

A company spokesman said that the huge volumes of mackerel on are causing some major problems for their three pelagic vessels, which were fishing for herring, and according to Ingimundur Ingimundarson of the HB Grandi’s pelagic division, their skippers have been forced off grounds further south due to the abundance of mackerel there. Some vessels had to stop fishing altogether.

He added: ‘As has already been widely reported, there appear to be large volumes of mackerel all around Iceland. Mackerel shoals have been observed off the south, west and north coasts and there have been occasions when mackerel has gone into harbours, such as in the Westmann Islands, Gardur and Akureyri. Off the east coast there is certainly plenty of mackerel to be found, with the fleet trying its best to avoid it.’