Good start of the lumpfish season
The season for lumpfish in Iceland is starting well. The fishermen hauled their nets Sunday and Monday and catches were good. Markets both for the fish and the roe have improved since last year when old inventories pressed the prices down
The season started last Friday when the fishermen first went out to sea putting their nets down. Fishing is not controlled be individual transferable quotas as in almost all other fishing in Iceland. Instead the fishing effort is restricted by number of days and number of nets used. Each boat has only 20 days to fish in a longer period with in the fishing days can be chosen. The fishing starts of the north coast where the lumpfish comes first up to the shore to spawn. The main emphasis in the fishing is for the female because of the roe which is used for caviar production.
Managing director of the Small boast owners association in Iceland, Örn Pálsson, is optimistic as the season starts. Catches have been good, the fish is bigger and no inventories from last year. “Prices for the fishermen will be higher this season both for the roes and the fish itself which is being sold to a relatively new market in China.”
Pálsson anticipates that number of boats fishing for lumpfish will increase from 223 last season to over 300 this year. The reason is better markets and higher prices. His estimation is that the fishing will yield over 10.000 barrels of roe, up from 7.700 last year. The total world market for lumpfish roe is up to 22.000 barrels so around half of it will come from Iceland this year. The main competitor is Greenland with 9.400 barrels last year and is likely fish around 10.000 barrels of roe this year.
“Iceland has first of all countries in the world achieved a Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainability of the fishing for lumpfish which is a considerable advantage and results in facilitating the sales and more over higher prices, as such a certification is getting more and more important the main markets in Germany and Sweden,” Pálsson says.