A nation with fishing in its genes

A nation with fishing in its genes 

Fishing is an intrinsic part of Iceland's history and heritage. Since the country was first settled, Icelandic fishermen have braved the seas to bring home their catch. Fish was both an important source of food, and laid the foundation of our economy. Respect for the ocean and its gifts is deeply ingrained in our culture, and the responsible management of marine resources is of a fundamental importance to the nation.

Economy

The fishing industry is one of the main pillars of the Icelandic economy. Marine products were historically the country’s lead export item. Responsible fisheries at the Icelandic fishing grounds are athe prerequisite for the Icelandic fishing industry continuing being a solid part of the Icelandic economy and a principal pillar in Iceland’s exports.

Catches

According to FAO, Iceland was the 19th largest fishing nation in the world in 2015, fishing approximately 1,2% of the global catch that year, and the second largest in Europe.

The total catch in Icelandic waters was 1,176,540 tonnes in 2017 and fishing along with fish processing accounted for 7,3% of the GDP. The total exports of marine products were 610,000 tonnes and accounted for 38.1% of the value of exported goods and were worth 1,629 million EUR.

Export markets

Iceland was the 19th largest fishing nation in the world in 2017, fishing approximately 1,2% of the global catch that year.

The total catch in Iceland was 1,176,540 tonnes in 2017 and fishing along with fish processing accounted for 7,3% of the GDP. The total exports of marine products were 610,000 tonnes and accounted for 38,1% of the value of exports in and were worth 1,629 million EUR.

There are 1,621 registered fishing vessels in Iceland and the fishing industry employed 7,000 people in 2017, accounting for 3,6% of the total workforce in Iceland. It is a key industry in Iceland and an important part of our history. Fishing is an important economic sector in all regions and the catch was landed in 58 ports around the country.

Icelandic marine products were exported to 92 countries in 2017, around 76% of the total were sold to Europe which is the most important market for Icelandic seafood. Frozen products account for 48.9% of the export value of marine exports. The single most valuable fish species for Icelandic seafood exports is cod which accounted for 42% of the export value of marine products in 2017.

The fishing fleet

There are 1,621 registered fishing vessels in Iceland and the fishing industry employed 7,000 people in 2017, accounting for 3.6% of the total workforce in Iceland.  Fishing is an important economic sector in all regions and the catch was landed in 58 ports around the country.

Read more about the history of fisheries in Iceland on Fisheries.is.