Icelandic Seafood Industry
Iceland has built up a modern and competitive seafood industry of a high standard, based on sustainable harvesting and market principles. Iceland has managed to create a (management) system that follows strict principles of sustainable utilisation. The fishing sector’s contribution to the economy is of vital importance for the Icelandic people.
The fishing industry is one of the main pillars of the Icelandic economy. Marine products have historically been the country’s leading export items and the seafood industry is still the backbone of the economy. In 2011 the export production of marine products amounted to ISK 252 billion and increased in value by 14.4% from previous year. Marine products account for approx. 40% of total export value (year 2011). Responsible fisheries at the Icelandic fishing grounds are the prerequisite for the Icelandic fishing industry continuing being a solid part of the Icelandic economy and a principal pillar in Iceland’s exports.
Icelanders have structured a fisheries management system to ensure responsible fisheries, focusing on the sustainable utilization of the fish stocks and good treatment of the marine ecosystem. The fisheries management in Iceland is primarily based on extensive research on the fish stocks and the marine ecosystem, decisions made on the conduct of fisheries and allowable catches on the basis of scientific advice, and effective monitoring and enforcement of the fisheries and the total catch. These are the main pillars of the Icelandic fisheries management intended to ensure responsible fisheries and the sustainability of the ocean’s natural resources.
Rapid advances in Icelandic fisheries have been accompanied by the development of manufacturing and service industries that draw on long experience of the practical needs of fishing and fish processing operations. The fishing fleet is equipped with advanced technology and the same is true for the processing facilities on land. Among the leading fields are software products, electronic and digital equipment such as scales for on-board, as well as land-based weighing and process control, and graders for landed or even live fish. A wide selection of tubs, boxes and packaging for handling storage and retailing of fresh and frozen products are made in Iceland, as well as trawl nets, trawl doors and fishing boats, safety equipment and protective clothing.
Icelandic manufacturers have designed and installed many processing plants around the world for companies ranging from vessel owners to industrial food processors. Services such as banking and consulting know-how for the fisheries sector worldwide are also in increased demand. Iceland Trade Directory contains information about companies exporting seafood products, technical solutions for the fishing industry, as well ascompanies in other sectors.
In 2011, a report (1st draft) about the value and activities of ocean related industries in Iceland was published. The project is called 'Sjavarklasinn' - Ocean Cluster. "The goal of the Iceland Ocean Cluster is to increase the value and understanding of ocean related activities in Iceland. In the Iceland Ocean Cluster companies in different sectors, such as fisheries, research & innovation, biotechnology, technology manufacturing, logistics and finances, work together."