Flexibility and implementation 


In order to match each the composition of the catch to the quota portfolio for individual fishing vessels or companies, and to reduce incentives for discard, a variety of flexibility provisions are in place. The main provisions, in addition to quota transfer, are the following:

  • A provision allowing the use of catch quota for one species to count against a limited catch amount of another species.
  • Auctioned catch; it is permitted to land a small fraction of the year‘s catches without use of quota; such catches go to auction and the proceeds go to a public fund tofor supporting research.
  • It is permitted for the year‘s catch to exceed the year‘s quota by 5% forin some species; the excess is then deducted from the following year‘s quota.
  • It is permitted to postpone fishing for part of the quota and to transfer up to 15% of the year‘s quota to the following fishing year; postponement of fishing in considered beneficial to the growth of long-lived fish stocks.
  • Catches of undersized fish in some cases (e.g. cod <50 cm) count only as half their weight against quota; this is to discourage discards; the actual amounts are small.


    A central fishing vessel registry is maintained; only registered vessels that have been granted a fishing licence may engage in commercial fishing. Before embarking on a fishing trip, the vessel‘s operators must ensure that the vessel has quota registered which suffices for the expected catch.

    Recording of vessel catch quotas and catches is done in the Fisheries Directorate‘s central data base which is accessible to all; thus transparency is ensured.
    All catches shall be landed in officially designated landing harbours; Accredited harbour officials weigh the catch by species and record in the central data base; Landed catch is subtracted from the vessel‘s quota. When quota is used up, the vessel owner must acquire additional quota for the vessel, else fishing must stop; failing that, the vessel loses its fishing license. The Directorate of Fisheries and the Icelandic Coast Guard monitor and control commercial fishing and the landing of catches.