The Icelandic Market

Icefish 2011

The Icelandic Commercial Fishing Industry

The Icelandic fisheries are at the forefront of sophistication in terms of technology, from navigation and fish-detection through to gear and equipment. The recent upgrading of Iceland’s fishing vessels is well underway, bringing more energy efficient technology, new generation on-board handling and ice-less storage. The pelagic fleet completed its renewal within the last few years, with fishing companies Ísfélagið, Síldarvinnslan and HB Grandi taking delivery of new vessels. It is now the turn of the groundfish fleet to be renewed, due to be delivered at the end of 2017. Fisheries including Samherji, FISK Seafood, HB Grandi, Rammi, Gunnvör and VSV, plus Samherji’s subsidiaries in other countries are expected to take delivery.

The total catch of Icelandic fishing vessels in 2015 was 1,319 thousand tonnes which is 243 thousand tonnes more than in 2014. The value of the catch amounted to 151 billion ISK and increased by 15% from previous year.

The 2012 Catch was as follows:  
Cod 205
Haddock 48
Saithe 51
Redfish 55
Ocean redfish 6
Greenland halibut 14
Wolf fish 10
Great silver smelt 9
Ling 11
Blueling 4
Monkfish 3
Flatfish 10
Herring 192
Mackerel 152
Blue whiting 64
Capelin 601
Shrimp 11
Nephrops 1.9
Total 1,480 million tonnes

Export of Seafood in 2015

The importance of fishing industry remains as strong as ever and the export value of fish and fish related products amounted to 267 billion ISK a massive 42,3% of total exports.

  ISK billion Percentage
Total catch 272.5 44.6%
To EEC states 186,563 68,5%

Quota holders as at 1 September 2015

The five largest fishing companies hold 31% of the total quota in Icelandic waters; the ten largest 51% and the twenty largest hold 70%.

Trawlers: 45

Ships and boats over 15 BT: 124

Small boats@ 365

Total: 534


In 2015 the export production of marine products amounted to nearly 267
billion ISK a slight decrease in value by 6% from the previous year, due to the strengthening of the Icelandic currency this represents the sum of export and stock changes. The total export in 2015 was 632,000 tonnes Frozen products generated half of the value of exported marine products. Of single products, the value of frozen cod was highest, 35.6 billion ISK, and the value of iced cod was second highest at 34.4 billion ISK. Around 75% of Icelandic marine products were sold to Europe, 8.6% to Asia and 8% to North America.


Largest export states  
UK 44,380
Norway 19,253
France 19,195
Spain 18,839
Russia 18,600
Germany 18,533
Holland 15,661
USA 15,661
Nigeria 12,133
Japan 7,808