In the first 5 months of the year, Iceland exported around 26,000 tonnes of capelin products for ISK 16.4 billion [$132.4 million, €111.9 million]. After a two-year shortage of capelin, the price has risen and the average price per kilo has reached record highs.
Capelin is one of the most important fish stocks in Iceland, accounting for around 13% of export earnings: only cod brings in more. About 70% of capelin fished in Icelandic waters is sold to the Asian market, with Japan being the biggest buyer though sales to China are increasing.
Stocks of capelin have been volatile, making it difficult to predict or plan fishing seasons. Still, in recent years, most of the world’s capelin catch has been caught off the coast of Iceland. This year it took Icelandic capelin fishing vessels only one month to catch the allotted quota though it was raised several times.
Export value of the fish has risen even though export figures for the last season have not been finalised.