Fifteen longliners fishing on the 3,000-tonne CCAMLR toothfish quota have all now left the fishery areas around Antarctica. Many vessels have experienced a season of difficult fishing conditions due to excessive ice.
The Norwegian autoliner FrÃÃ‚Â¸yanes, which was possibly the most successful vessel last year, landing a catch valued at NOK 23 million (EUR 2.9 million), this year saw their catch value fall to around NOK 17 million (EUR 2.1 million). Still, it is the second best toothfish season for the vessel owned and operated by the Norwegian company Ervik Havfiske AS. This company, being the largest longlining company in Norway is owned 50 per cent by the stock listed company Domstein ASA, and operates 12 autoliners in Norwegian, Russian, Faroese and Antarctica waters catching 11,000 tonnes of fish annually. According to the fishery paper Fiskaren, the FrÃÃ‚Â¸yanes is currently sailing towards Montevideo, Uruguay. The vessel first caught 150 tonnes of toothfish in the Ross Sea, before being forced to leave because of icey conditions. It then continued to the fishery in the Amundsen Sea, catching another 110 tonnes, and after processing the catch the vessel now has 110 tonnes of frozen toothfish onboard. There were 20 licences issued for participation in the last season that began 1 December, but five of the vessels did not turn up for different reasons. FrÃÃ‚Â¸yanes had a crew of 19 plus two CAMMLR inspectors onboard sampling different material from the catch for scientific purposes. For every tonne caught one fish has been tagged and released back into the sea. After offloading the catch in Montevideo the FrÃÃ‚Â¸yanes will return to the Antarctica to participate in a trial fishery off of Queen Maud Land, not far from the Bouvet Island. A 500-tonne research quota has been issued for this fishery, of which the vessel hopes to get around 100 tonnes. Very little fishery has taken place in this area and little is known with regards to stocks and viability of a profitable fishery in these waters. (FIS)