Thanks to sustainable fisheries Iceland's cod stock now larger than at any time since 1985
The size of the Icelandic cod population continues to increase. The biomass of the cod stock is now larger than at any time since 1985, when the current systematic measurements began. Older fish is also larger and heavier than in previous measurements, a further indication the cod stock is doing well.
Result of sustainable fishing policy
The news of the strong showing of the Atlantic Cod population in Icelandic waters is welcome news, as many commercial fish stocks are in decline or are under severe stress world-wide. A strong cod population is also crucial for the Icelandic economy, as cod, which is a favorite ingredient for English Fish & Chips, is one of the most important export products of Iceland.
The strong condition of the Icelandic cod population is the result of a sustainable fisheries policy, introduced in the 1980s.
All commercial fish stocks doing well
According to the final report of measurements by the Icelandic Marine Institute (pdf) of the condition of several important commercial fish stocks, the biomass of the cod population is now greater than at any time since systematic measurement began in 1985. The population and its biomass have been rising each year since 2007. The distribution of cod in Icelandic waters was also greater than in previous measurements.
A major reason for the higher biomass of the population is that older fish, defined as 7 years and older (Atlantic cod lives to a maximum age of 25), is larger and heavier than in previous years.
The population size of other key commercial fish species, including pollock and haddock, also show an increase over last year, or they are close to historic highs.
Recommendations of marine biologists have been heeded
The recent recovery of the cod population in Icelandic waters is welcome news. The population plummeted in the post war years, like many other commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic, as fishing increased with larger and more powerful vessels. In response to this crisis Iceland introduced a a system of total allowable catch quotas in 1984. These were later made transferrable, allowing fisheries to trade their share of the total allowed catch.
Although the system has remained controversial, due to the fact that the quota has been concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, it ha been successful in reducing fishing and strengthening the fish stocks.
While total quotas frequently exceeded the recommendations of marine biologists in the first years of the quota system, the recommendations of the Marine Research Institute have been taken more seriously in the more recent past. For the past eight years the Institute has issued particularly cautious recommendations in the hope of strengthening the breeding population of cod.
Ever dreamed of a second home in a fishing village in the Westfjords? Now's your chance!
This day in history: The sinking of whaling vessels in Reykjavík harbour was "Iceland's 9/11"
Kitten TV "Kattarshians" coming to the US: Best thing to come out of Iceland since Björk
Ask the Expert
Elves and hidden people: Do Icelanders really believe in elves?
Food & Drink
Don't miss the annual Icelandic Meat Soup Day in downtown Reykjavík on Saturday
Food & Drink
The five best places for brunch in Reykjavík
Photos: Walking paths at Víti crater lake turned into mudfields: 'Worst I have seen'
Photos: This year's pysja rescue confirms 2017 was best year on record for pufflings
Photos: Icelanders celebrate the win over Kosovo which secured a spot at the World Cup
Brush up on your Icelandic by singing world's hardest karaoke song
Follow Iceland Mag
Join our weekly hand curated newsletter to have all the latest news from Iceland sent to you
Don't worry, we won't spam you. Promise!
Watch a video of a RV get blown off the road just north of Reykjavík
Want to know what you are eating at an Icelandic Þorrablót? Here's your answer!
Chris Burkard: "Iceland is one of the most beautiful locations in the world"
Meet the friends of Iceland!
Vikings had a dark sense of humour, reveals Irish academic
10 words and phrases in Icelandic that don’t exist in English
Cuteness overload: A video of a litter of Arctic fox pups explore the world for the first time
Watch a selection of the most amazing Hollywood movie scenes shot in Iceland
Magical beauty of Icelandic landscapes captured in this award winning time-lapse video
Superb short film featuring breathtaking drone footage shot along the Ring Road One
Video: The stunning beauty of the Diamond Beach and other wonders of South Iceland