Blue Whiting Revival Spells Opportunity

Blue Whiting Revival Spells Opportunity pp 44-45

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Blue Whiting Revival Spells Opportunity pp 44-45As a leading maker of blue whiting trawls, Vónin is looking to fortify its position with the current rise in the international catch quota for blue whiting — with other pelagic fisheries, notably mackerel and herring, set to drive demand too.

During the blue whiting bonanza a few years ago, gear maker Vónin managed to build a strong position in the market for trawls used in the international fishery, which largely takes place in Faroese waters.

A total 2.4 million tonnes of the species were caught in 2006 — of which the Faroese took as much as 312,000 tonnes — as Vónin earned a reputation for producing the best blue whiting fishing gear in the market, supplying not only Faroese vessels but others as well, including Dutch, Russian and Icelandic.

The blue whiting fishery was brought under the regulation of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) in 2007, with a total allowable catch (TAC) set at 2.1m tonnes. Then, in the following years, the TAC was drastically reduced, down to virtually zero in 2011, or 40,100 tonnes.

Now with the blue whiting stock showing signs of buoyancy, regulators began to ease restrictions in 2012, and have continued to do so, setting the TAC for 2013 at 619,000 tonnes; that’s 154,614 for the Faroese, who have decided, however, to trade roughly half of the tonnage with the Russians for the right to catch groundfish in the Barents Sea.

With this turn of events, the blue whiting fishery is again fast becoming an attractive option for pelagic fishing fleets. The fact that the species is increasingly fished in Faroese waters makes Vónin look perfectly located to serve pelagic vessels from multiple countries — only a few hours steaming away from the fishing grounds.

Last year Vónin took over three-quarters of Strandby Net, a Danish gear manufacturer with net lofts in Strandby as well as in Skagen, Denmark’s largest hub for the pelagic fishing industry. The move further strengthened Vónin’s ability to supply fishing gear to vessels anywhere. In other overseas markets, the company already has a strong foothold in Greenland and in Canada while growing rapidly in Norway.