Icelandic fishing industry unaffected by sanctions

Iceland fishThe threat of EU sanctions against Iceland over the North Atlantic mackerel dispute has had little effect on the Icelandic fishing industry, according to reports.

Both Iceland and the Faroe Islands could see their products banned from EU ports amid accusations that they are overfishing in territorial waters to the point of unsustainability.

But despite the fact that European officials have officially approved a sanctions package, many firms are continuing business as normal. According to a BBC report issued on Monday 11 February, officials Reykjavik-based seafood processor HB Grandi believe that such changes would only shift its export efforts rather than halt production.

Like most Icelandic fishing firms, the vast majority of the company’s products are exported; most go to Russia, whilst around 11 percent goes to the United Kingdom.

HB Grandi chief executive Vilhjalmur Vilhjalmsson told reporters, “The UK would import cod from other countries to fulfil the demand. That cod would come through other channels and we would go to that channel instead,” the BBC reports.

Meanwhile, Iceland Nature Conservation Association chairman Arni Finnsson said that it is not probable that the sanctions will ever be put into effect. He said in a statement, “Economic sanction is something you do against Syria or the former government of Libya. Iceland is a naval country, a friendly nation. It’s not likely.”

The news comes despite Reykjavik recently announcing a quota reduction of 15 percent for 2013, although Europe and Norway claim the move is simply insufficient.

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