“It would be no problem to catch more, but what we can handle is limited by the freezing capacity on board. We can freeze 50 to 55 tonnes every 24 hours, so we have always managed to keep up full production and let ourselves drift for most of the time," said Kristinn Gestsson, skipper of freezer trawler Therney RE.
Therney is now fishing for mackerel west of the Látra grounds and is expected to dock in Reykjavík at the end of the week. He said that their fishing on mackerel started when Therney sailed on the 12 July.
"We went straight to the Greenland zone where the fishing grounds were about 240 nautical miles west of Gardsskagi. It’s a big area and in our first trip there, which was nine days, we towed across a 150 nautical mile area from south-west to north-east. Catches were good and we froze around 500 tonnes on board during the trip," he said, adding that Therney’s next trip to the Greenland EEZ was more of a disappointment.
"We took our first tow on Wednesday evening last week and at midday on Thursday there was a message from the Directorate of Fisheries announcing that all Icelandic vessels had to stop fishing mackerel in Greenland waters by midday on Friday. So we didn’t have much time there but we did manage 130 tonnes. From there we steamed across the line to the Icelandic side, but there was a delay in fishing because we had to steam in to pick up an observer. After that we were able to start fishing again in the Kolluáll Gully and now we’ve shifted further north."
There is reported to be a considerable number of vessels fishing mackerel in the same area as Therney, although the dedicated pelagic vessels are mostly fishing off eastern Iceland. Kristinn Gestsson said that one trawler had gone out to the midway line close to the Greenland zone in the hope that mackerel had spilled into Icelandic waters from the west, but so far there has been no news of this happening