Well managed Fisheries in Icelandic Waters

20 January 2012

Responsible management of fisheries is of fundamental importance to Iceland as fisheries are one of the main pillars of the Icelandic economy. Icelanders have structured a fisheries management system to ensure sustainable use of marine resources. Germany is in the forefront in promoting sustainable use of natural resources and it is therefore natural to present the Iceland Responsible Fisheries programme to the German seafood industry at the Fish International 2012 exhibition in Bremen.

Seminar in Bremen 13 February

The Iceland Responsible Fisheries programme (IRF) will hold a seminar Monday 13 February at 10am at Messe Bremen. The title of the seminar is “Responsible Fisheries in Icelandic Waters - Engagement through Certification of Fisheries based on the FAO-ISO model”. Among speakers are Eggert Benedikt Gudmundsson, Chair of the IRF Marketing Board and CEO of fisheries company HB Grandi, Jóhann Sigurjónsson, Director General, Marine Research Institute who will speak about status of fish stocks in Icelandic waters and Peter Marshall, CEO, Global Trust Certification Ltd. The title of Mr Marshall’s talk is “Certification of Icelandic fisheries to FAO-ISO based model – a new horizon for fisheries”. The Icelandic Ambassador in Germany, Gunnar Snorri Gunnarsson will make closing remarks.

The fisheries industry in Iceland is united in developing the IRF programme in order to promote the Icelandic origin of the seafood and well managed fisheries in Icelandic waters. ‘Iceland recognizes the importance of responsible fisheries management. Seafood is our heritage, our livelihood and our future. Utilizing Iceland’s rich marine resources in an efficient and responsible manner that ensures our future is at the very heart of our management policy. Now, through the Iceland Responsible Fisheries Programme, we have the mechanism to demonstrate this in a manner recognized by our valuable supply chain partners and global stakeholders in seafood‘, states Eggert Benedikt Gudmundsson, chair of the Iceland Responsible Fisheries Marketing Board and CEO of HB Grandi.

Golden Redfish, Saithe and Haddock in certification process

Global Trust’s certification of Iceland’s cod fisheries against the FAO-ISO model was an important milestone in verifying the sustainable use of marine resources in Icelandic waters. Encouraged by the successful outcome and market recognition of certified Icelandic cod, the Icelandic fisheries made application for three more species: Golden Redfish, Saithe and Haddock, based on the same standards and guidelines.

Meeting international requirements through FAO criteria

The third-party FAO-based Responsible Fisheries Management certification model is based on the articles and minimum substantive criteria described in the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and FAO Guidelines for the Eco-labelling of Fish and Fishery Products. Certification by the model confirms responsible fisheries management for sustainable use and good treatment of marine resources.

The requirements for a fishery meeting the FAO based certification include:

  • Adoption and implementation of a structured fisheries management system. The objective is to limit the total annual catch (TAC) from the fish stocks so that catches confirm to levels permitted by the relevant authorities.
  • Fish stock shall not be overfished and this shall be verified through scientific research and assessment by international experts.
  • Implementation of an effective legal and administrative framework for the fishery, with compliance ensured through effective mechanisms for monitoring, surveillance, control and enforcement.
  • Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem are limited by the application of a specified approach.

Growing support internationally

The FAO-based certification model has growing support internationally and is currently being successfully utilized in fisheries in USA (Alaska), and Canada, Ireland and UK are adopting the same approach for some fisheries. Certification has been awarded to four fisheries in Alaska: Salmon, Halibut, Sablefish and Pollock, and in addition Crab has entered the certification process.

Download the press release in English.

Download the press release in German.

For further information please contact:

Gudny Karadottir, Marketing manager, gudny@promoteiceland.is, tel +354 511 4000 / +354 693 3233
Finnur Gardarsson, Project manager, finnur@fiskifelag.is, tel. +354 591 0398 / +354 896 2400