Stock, advice and decisions 

The Marine and Freshwater Research Institute (MRFI) conducts research on the distribution, size and yield potential of the main species stocks. Stock assessments are based on systematic research of the size and productivity of the fish stocks and the marine ecosystem.

The MRFI provides scientific advice on the total allowable catch (TAC) for each year (or fishing year, Sept.-Aug.) with the objective of promoting sustainable use. The information is presented to and evaluated by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), that also provides advice on many stocks. This collaboration ensures that the MFRI is working in conformity with international criteria.

The Ministry of Industries and Innovations is responsible for the political policy making, issuing of regulations and long-term planning in fisheries. The Ministry decides on the TAC for each species stock based on scientific advice from MFRI.

The Directorate of Fisheries is entrusted with the day-to-day administration of fisheries and is responsible for the implementation of the legislation. The Directorate of Fisheries alots annual catch quotas to each vessel by distributing the total allowable catch according to the quota shares attached to each vessel. Transferable quota shares have been distributed to individual fishing vessels on the basis of their catches in a given stock during the three years prior to the introduction of the stock into the quota system.The individually transferable quota shares and catch quotas are the cornerstone of the Icelandic fisheries management system. The system is intended to limit the total catch and to ensure that catches are in line with total allowable catch.

In addition to the individually transferable  quota system, Icelandic fisheries management includes many other management measures such as area restrictions, fishing gear restrictions, and the use of closed areas to conserve important vulnerable habitats. Extensive provisions are made for temporary closures of fishing areas to protect spawning and juvenile fish. These measures are all meant to support and secure the sustainability of the fisheries.

Effective control and enforcement is an inseparable part of responsible fisheries management. The Directorate of Fisheries monitors Icelandic fisheries closely to ensure that all rules are obeyed. Iceland has one of the most sophisticated enforcement regimes in the world, in particular regarding port control and weighing of all catches. According to Icelandic law, discards are prohibited. All catches must be landed.

Well Managed Fisheries in Icelandic Waters on Vimeo.

View the TACs (in tons) for the main species for the fishing year 2018-2019