Humpback Whales Tear Nets in Iceland Fishing Grounds Skip to content

Humpback Whales Tear Nets in Iceland Fishing Grounds

Groups of humpback whales have made life difficult for fishermen catching capelin north of the West Fjords in the past days. The seines cast out by the fishing vessels tear when whales, also attracted by the schools of capelin, accidently get caught in it.

whalewatching_ipaArchive photo copyright Icelandic Photo Agency.

“An incredible amount of time has gone into repairing nets. The seine tears in nearly every throw and almost without exception because whales have become entangled in it,” Halldór Jónsson, second mate on Lundey NS, one of the ships affected, is quoted in a story posted on the website of fisheries company HB Grandi on Thursday.

“People don’t notice it until the seine closes. Then you hear the blowing of the humpbacks, which is followed by their struggle to cut loose and then everything is in shatters,” Halldór says, adding it’s hard to avoid the whales.

“If we were lucky enough not to trap whales inside the seine, they sometimes swam right up to the net from the outside. I guess curiosity was the reason,” Halldór concluded.

In spite of the trials, Lundey NS had caught 650 tons of capelin by the end of the trip and was expected to reach Vopnafjörður, East Iceland, in the early hours of Friday to unload the catch.


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