Iceland leading the way in sustainable fishing

Cod stocks in the North Atlantic are at their healthiest in 50 years. That was a key point made recently at a workshop on responsible fishing, hosted by the Icelandic Embassy in London.

This is largely the result of the individual transferable quota (ITQ) system introduced in 1984, said Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, minister of fisheries and agriculture, who was a keynote speaker.

“We need to use responsible, science-based analysis,” he said. “But I would say it’s a case of so far, so good. Cod, our most valuable fish-stock, is stronger than it has been for 50 years. We are also using fewer vessels, too, which is having less of an environmental impact.”

It emerged at the meeting that with 230,000 tonnes of fish valued at more than $700 million landed and exported in 2013, overfishing has been replaced with quality catches. Stocks are reckoned to have doubled in the past six years with most species recovering, and at least 30 new ones thriving as a result of warming waters.

Inspection and certification ensures that fisheries are managed responsibly, according to internationally recognized criteria. This includes assessment of haddock and saithe, according to ISO65 accredited system of Global Trust/SAI Global.

A comprehensive review of fisheries management system including laws, regulations and operations, quota systems, data collection, and enforcement.