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Fleet back fishing

Iceland's fishing industry has burst into activity following the end of the ten-week seamen's strike that began in December.

Much of the fleet was on the starting blocks, ready to sail as soon as the results of the unions' membership ballot was announced, and much of the pelagic fleet left the quays that evening.

Two of Síldarvinnslan's pelagic vessels, Börkur and Beitir, were on their way back to discharge 5200 tonnes of capelin between them, less than 24 hours after leaving, and others have reported heavy fishing and a strong capelin migration along the south coast of Iceland.

The last few weeks of the capelin season are always a buzz of activity as the pelagic fleet copes with the quota coming to an end and the point at which the migration comes to an end, while also coping with some of the most difficult weather conditions of the year as the vitally important capelin roe fishery takes place in the couple of weeks at the end of February and into early March.

This year the fishery has been delayed as an initial research survey indicated a low abundance of capelin, with a low quota set, but the tension increased as the results of a second survey meant that the quota was boosted, increasing the prospects of being able to make the most of the roe season. In contrast to the bleak outlook the surveys indicated, the pelagic fleet is reporting a strong abundance of capelin off the coast, moving rapidly westwards.

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