The Icelandic Responsible Fisheries
The Iceland Responsible Fisheries (IRF) certification programme indicates Icelandic origin of fish catches in Icelandic waters and responsible fisheries management.
Plans for the certification of Icelandic fisheries were announced by the Fisheries Association of Iceland (FAI) in October 2008. Its preparations are now well advanced and according to plans the certification of the first fish stocks should be completed this year (2010). Certification will be against the requirements of a specification developed by the FAI. The Icelandic Specification has been directly derived from the FAO (2005 / 2009) ‘Guidelines For the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries’.
The Icelandic Specification and Certification methodology will in turn be accredited by a member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) to the international standard for certification EN45011 / ISO 65. Global Trust Certification Ltd, an independent and accredited certification body has been contracted as the Certification Management Body for the Icelandic Responsible Fisheries Certification Programme.
The Iceland Responsible Fisheries Logo
The Fisheries Association of Iceland
- The Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners (LÍÚ); www.liu.is/
- Federation of Icelandic Fish Processing Plants (SF); www.sf.is
- National Association of Small Boat Owners, Iceland (NASBO); www.smabatar.is
- The Icelandic Seamen´s Federation (SSI); www.ssi.is
- The Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS); www.sgs.is/
- The Icelandic Union of Marine Engineers and Metal Technicians (VM); www.vm.is/
- The Icelandic Ships Officers
- Association (FFSÍ); www.skipstjorn.is/
The Fisheries Management System in Iceland
Iceland has a long and proud history as one of the world‘s leading fishing nations. The highlights of Iceland‘s robust and responsible fisheries scheme are as follows:
History of Stocks, advice and decisions
- 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 vessel’s quota share, all other provisions apply; limited amount); summer inshore hand line (jigging) fishery (experimental in 2009, limited to 3955 tons of cod).
- A provision allowing the use of catch quota for one species to count against a limited catch amount of another species.
- Auctioned catch; it is permitted to land a small fraction of the year‘s catches without use of quota; such catches go to auction and the proceeds go to a public fund for supporting research.
- It is permitted for the year‘s catch to exceed the year‘s quota by 5% in some species; the excess is then deducted from the following year‘s quota.
- It is permitted to postpone fishing for part of the quota and to transfer up to 33% of the year‘s quota to the following fishing year; postponement of fishing in considered beneficial to the growth of long-lived fish stocks.
- Catches of undersized fish in some cases (e.g. cod <50 cm) count only as half their weight against quota; this is to discourage discards; the actual amounts are small.
Recording of vessel catch quotas and catches is done in the Fisheries Directorate‘s central data base which is accessible to all; thus transparency is ensured.
All catches shall be landed in officially designated landing harbours; Accredited harbour officials weigh the catch by species and record in the central data base; Landed catch is subtracted from the vessel‘s quota. When quota is used up, the vessel owner must acquire additional quota for the vessel, else fishing must stop; failing that, the vessel loses its fishing license. The Directorate of Fisheries and The Icelandic Coast Guard monitor and control commercial fishing and the landing of catches.