Coastal fisheries in Iceland / Small boat fishing in Iceland




Gunnar Þórðarson, Jónas R. Viðarsson

Supported by:

NORA and AG ‐ fisk (The Nordic working group for fisheries cooperation)


Gunnar Þórðarson

Regional Manager

Coastal fisheries in Iceland / Small boat fishing in Iceland

The Icelandic coastal fleet includes around 2,000 vessels and is divided into different categories. Within the Icelandic fisheries management system the coastal fleet is split up into two main groups, operated within the Individual Transferable Quota system (ITQ) and the Jig and Line system (J & Ls). The coastal fleet is then influenced by the fisheries legislations in many other ways, like the regional quota system, the lumpfish system, the leisure fishing system, the coastal jigging system and many other ascendance. Vessels categorized as being apart the coastal fleet are less than 15 meters long and under 30 gross tonnage in size. The fleet is an important contributor to the national economy and is considered a key element for regional development in the country. More than 97% of the coastal catches in Icelandic waters are demersal species, but the rest are pelagic spices and other. Cod is the by far the most important species caught by coastal vessels, with haddock trailing in second place. The coastal fleet has significant role in Icelandic economy landing more than 17% of the total demersal catch, at the value of 170 million Euros in the fishing year 2012/13. Around 1,600 fishermen are working full ‐ time within the J & Ls and approximately 700 have temporary employment on coastal vessels, manly within the Coastal Jigging system during the summer months.

The Icelandic small boat fleet counts over 2,000 boats and they are divided into two main categories, boats that fish within the TAC system (large system) and the hook TAC system (small system). Small boat fishing in Iceland is dependent on many other sectors of the fisheries management system, such as local quotas, grayling fishing systems, recreational fishing and coastal fishing to name a few. In Iceland, small boats are defined as fishing boats that have a carrying capacity of 30 gross tons or less and are less than 15 meters long. The small boat fleet is important for the country's economy, whether in terms of number of jobs, values or the impact on rural development. About 97% of the small boat fleet's catch are demersal species, but only about 1% are pelagic species. Small boats caught about 17% of the total catch of demersal species in Iceland in the fishing year 2012/13 and the value was 26.6 billion ISK. Cod is by far the most important species in this fleet. About 1,600 fishermen are in the berth of small boats fishing within the hook quota system and another 700 have temporary employment within the sector, mainly during coastal fishing in the summer.

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