The fishery for Norwegian Spring Spawning Herring has rich traditions along the western coast of Norway. Fishing herring with gillnets is a methode used for hundreds of years. Some fishermen still use gillnets and get permission from the sales-organisation to sell herring in the harbour.
The film below was made west of Karmøy in March 2013. One fisherman had set the net at daytime, for only 20 minutes. Enjoy.
Last summer we got a new visitor in Norwegian waters. It all started when a bonito (Sarda Sarda) was caught in a net in the southern part of Norway. Then reports about Atlantic bonito came from the eastern part and the western part of the coast.
Small schools of bonito were also caught in purse seine by fishermen fishing for mackerel. The pattern of the catches indicates that the bonito hit the coast in southwest and then split. Some migrated northwards along the western coast while others migrated eastwards.
During fall Danish and Swedish anglers got the «bonito-fever» as fish passed Skagerrak and migrated into Kattegat. Such a massive migration to The North Sea and Swedish and Danish waters has never happened before, and this event was also exciting to the marine biologists.
Even this winter a couple of atlantic bonito were caught in the western part of Norway. Norwegian marine biologists have collected several species in order to take biological samples. Anglers, fishermen and biologists have some hopes for the next summer. Was this just a rare occation or will the atlantic bonito find their way back to Norway?
Today I got up early. I had an important appointment with two fishermen in the harbour. Yesterday they had set their herring nets on the old fishing ground west of our island, and they knew that the Norwegian spring-spawning herring had entered the coastline.
As the nets were hauled, we had hopes for the result although you never know anything for sure when it comes to the herring. The nets rose towards the surface and the first herring was glimmering in the sea. There were so much herring that the fishermen decided to haul the nets from the stern of the boat.
After an hour on the fishing ground we returned to the harbour. Some people were already waiting for fishing boats to come in with the catch. Buying herring in the harbour is an important tradition and the former importance of the herring fishery is not forgotten. The few fishermen that still participate in this fishery believe that the herring will stay on the fishing grounds for at least a week or two. I got my chance today – and it was a great experience.
I keep publishing films and this one is rather special. Allthough the quality is «average» it is a very rare film as it is from 1952 and in colors. It is also a unique documenation of the first years of fishing bluefin tuna with purse seine in Norway.
The film shows an ordinary Norwegian fishing vessel using a tuna purse seine. Allthough it seems primitive, this was how it was done in the early 1950’s. The fishing vessel gets a large catch and the catch is more than the vessel and the crew can handle. The captain calls for help, and when the film starts we can see that another vessel (named «Ådrott») has arrived. With one vessel on each side of the purse seine the crew lift the tuna out of the purse seine.
When a bluefin tuna dies it sinks, and the weight of the dead fish in a large catch could make it impossible to lift the purse seine and the fish to the surface. The force of the heavy purse seine could also be a danger to the purse seiner and the crew. That is why we can see that a third vessel and two motor boats starts to tow the purse seiner and the catch while the vessel «Ådrott» still helps to stabilize the weight in the purse seine.
The heavy purse seine, the purse seiner and the vessel «Ådrott» are towed towards land, and when reaching shallow waters the purse seine with all the dead tuna is rested on the bottom. Then we can see how the fishermen are «fishing» for dead tuna in the purse seine. We can see several smaller boats helping out, and this film is recorded by a man in one of the motorboats that assisted the purse seiner.
1952 was the best year for bluefin tuna fishing in Norway. Catches of several hundred fish were not unusual. The tuna seen on the film have an average weight of 120 kilogram. Unfortunately the number of fish in this catch is not known. The catch was loaded on several vessels and landed on different locations. It is still likely to believe that there must have been more than 200 bluefin tuna in the catch.