Pelagic fish migration patterns

5-Pelagic_fishes-(P)-Elderly_capelin_boat--(copyright-Hreidar_V)

An "elderly" capelin boat with a full hold

Photo: Hreiðar Valtysson

Average catch of plagics from 2002 to 2011 by month and species

The highest catches in Icelandic waters are from the few pelagic species. These fisheries are also characterized by great fluctuations, as the stock size and migration routes of these species are highly variable. The herring is probably the most important species historically. Three stocks occurred around Iceland: the Icelandic spring spawning, Icelandic summer spawning, and Atlanto-Scandian stocks. All of them collapsed in the late 1960´s, but the two last ones have fully recovered and now sustain considerable catches by Icelandic boats.

6-total-catch-(g)-total-catch-by-month-and-species-pelagics-(statice).pngAfter the collapse of the herring stocks, the Icelandic boats turned to capelin, previously virtually unfished. This fishery rapidly grew to around 1 million tonnes annually, in some years as much as for all other species in Icelandic waters combined.

Three other pelagic fisheries have developed in Icelandic waters in recent years, all on international stocks. Icelandic fisheries for oceanic redfish began in 1989, blue whiting in 1997 and mackerel in 2006.

Another character of the pelagic species, as opposed to the demersal ones, is that their migration routes are much more extensive. The pelagic fisheries are consequently spread over a wider area. The capelin fisheries are conducted far north of Iceland at the start of the spawning migration and then follow the spawning migration around Iceland. The fishery for the Atlanto-Scandian herring is mostly in the Norwegian Sea, northeast and east of Iceland.5-Pelagic_fishes-(D)-Blue_fin_tuna--(copyright-Jon_B_H) rs after its collapse. The blue whiting fisheries are in international waters as well as within the Icelandic EEZ, east and southeast of Iceland. In the last couple of years, mackerel has made an appearance southwest of Iceland. Further west, over the Reykjanes Ridge, on the south western part of the EEZ and also outside it, considerable fisheries are conducted on oceanic redfish. The only commercial pelagic species that only occurs over the Icelandic continental shelf is the Icelandic summer spawning herring.

These fisheries are now exclusively carried out by vessels operating purse seines or pelagic trawls (herring and capelin) or only pelagic trawls (redfish, blue whiting and mackerel). Previously some quantities of herring were also fished with driftnets.

All these fisheries are seasonal; the capelin fishery is mostly from January to March during spawning migrations. Blue whiting fisheries begin at the end of the capelin season in spring but mackerel and Atlanto-Scandian herring fisheries are essentially conducted during the summer months. The rest of the year, from October to December, the pelagic fleet devotes to Icelandic summer spawning herring.


Seasonal migrations of blue whiting in the Norwegian Sea in 1978 to 1982 (C.M)
Book (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Pelagic Fish Committee)

Actually your notions about frozen fish may be

2008-07-14 15:57:30 by part_of_the_problem

While *truly* fresh fish is superior to frozen for texture in many cases, what passes as "fresh" is often not really that fresh.
If you ever had the kinds of pelagic fish you describe within 30-60 minutes of being caught, you would be amazed at how un-fishy they are, especially tuna.
When fish is fileted and flash frozen at sea in that same time frame, it will most likely have less of a fishy flavor than the same fish that stays unfrozen for even a few hours trip to market, which is enough time to develop a fishy enough taste to put off someone who is sensitive to it.


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Indicators of movement useful to problems of biomass estimation of pelagic stocks (FAO fisheries technical paper)
Book (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
Recruitment and seasonal migrations of herring to the west of Scotland (C.M)
Book (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Pelagic Fish Committee)
Seasonal and daily vertical migrations and structure of capelin concentrations in the Barents Sea (C.M)
Book (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Pelagic Fish Committee)

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