Herring Infection Worsens Skip to content

Herring Infection Worsens

By Larissa Kyzer

A considerable number of the herring catch that’s been landed in recent days has been found to be infected, RÚV reports. As such, almost all of it will be incinerated. The infection has plagued Iceland’s summer-spawning herring on and off for the last decade.

Four fishing companies have sent ships to fish in waters west of Iceland and have then landed their herring catch at Vopnafjörður and Neskaupstaður in Northeast Iceland, Hornafjörður in Southeast Iceland, as well as in the Westman Islands. At three of four locations, the majority of the herring catch had to be incinerated. At Hornafjörður, however, it was actually possible to process and freeze a good portion of the catch. The rate of infection seems then to depend on where the fish has been caught.

“Unfortunately, this is what we feared after the last expeditions that went out last winter,” remarked Þorsteinn Sigurðsson, the head of the Peleagic Division of the Marine and Freshwater Institute. “We saw how high the rate of infection was in all of the cohorts we’d tracked. So this is unfortunately consistent with the projections we had.”

At first, the infection was only in older herring cohorts, while the younger cohorts remained healthy. This gave observers the hope that the infection would eventually disappear, and for a time, it did decline. But in the last two years, the infection has been detected in younger herring cohorts and the situation is now worsening again.

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