Capelin Fishing Season in Iceland in Jeopardy Skip to content

Capelin Fishing Season in Iceland in Jeopardy

Fishermen are hoping that another run of capelin will enter the Icelandic fishing grounds soon, otherwise there will be no capelin season this year. So far this year, the Ministry of Fisheries has only issued a 15,000-ton research quota.

According to the Icelandic Marine Research Institute, there is only about 385,000 tons of capelin in Icelandic waters at the moment, which is not enough for a quota to be issued. Usually fishermen can catch all capelin in excess of the 400,000-ton spawning stock, Fréttabladid reports.

Fishing in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency

“There is no good news of capelin,” said Minister of Fisheries Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. “The area south and east of the country has been searched thoroughly and there are search expeditions taking place in the west.”

“There is still hope,” said Eggert Benediktsson, CEO of fishing company HB Grandi. So far, capelin vessels have concentrated on fishing pearlside and have already caught 30,000 tons of the fish. However, the pearlside seems to be leaving the fishing grounds.

The Marine Research Institute recently canceled what would have been its first pearlside research expedition, both because of unfortunate weather forecasts and because the fish has become scattered.

Some worry that pearlside has become important as feed for common fish species, especially now that capelin seems to be missing from Icelandic waters, and say that fishing it may not be such a good idea.

“Pearlside needs to be investigated further,” said Thorsteinn Sigurdsson at the Marine Research Institute. “It has been found in the stomachs of many other fish species, although the amount is so small that we don’t think it is the basic feed for any specific species.”

Last year a run of capelin appeared late in February to everyone’s surprise and a quota of 157,000 tons were issued after capelin fishing had originally been banned that season. Both fishermen and the Marine Research Institute are hoping the same will happen this year.

Click here to read more about capelin fishing in Iceland.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!

Share article


Recommended Posts