Management approach and supplementary measures 

Fisheries management in Icelandic waters is primarily based on catch limitation (output control) through individual transferable quotas (ITQs);

  • Each vessel is assigned a quota share (%) in each stock, initially based primarily on catch history over a reference period.
  • The annual allowable catch for each vessel from each stock is obtained by multiplying the TAC of the year and the vessel‘s quota share (as a proportion).
  • Quotas can be transferred between vessels; this applies both to quota shares and annual catch allotments. Quota transfer is mainly intended to promote rationalisation and thus increase profitability in the industry.
  • Exceptions include: Community quotas (not based on vessels‘s quota share, all other provisions apply; limited amount); summer inshore handline (jigging) fishery (limited amount).

Supplementary measures

  • Discarding of commercial species is prohibited by law. 
  • Extensive area closures to fishing for the protection of juvenile fish: Large nursery areas closed on long term basis; temporary real time closures.
  • Fishing gear selectivity in demersal fisheries ensured through requirements for minimum mesh size and/or the use of sorting grids to allow small fish to escape capture.
  • Closure to fishing of main spawning grounds for the major demersal fish stocks during peak spawning season. 
  • Closures to protect stony corals and thermal vents.