Catch of cod 38% lower since introduction of quota system Skip to content

Catch of cod 38% lower since introduction of quota system

Morgunbladid reports that the catch of cod in Icelandic waters has declined by 38 per cent since the introduction of the so-called quota system 23 years ago.

Under the system, an overall quota for the various commercially fished stock in Icelandic waters is set by the Ministry of Fisheries and distributed to fishing vessels based on their previous years catch and various other factors.

The quota system has been heavily criticized because fisheries companies that are allocated qutoa only pay nominal fees for access to one of Iceland’s richest resources, the fishing grounds surrounding the island, in spite of the fishing grounds’ being defined by law as the “common property of the Icelandic people”. The quota system has given rise to a class of people dubbed “Quota Kings” who have cashed in on the quota system by selling the quota rights they received for free from the government.

Citing figures from the Marine Research Institute, Morgunbladid reports that the catch has gone down from an average of 346 thousand tons the first five years of the quota system, beginning of 1984 through year end 1988, to an average of 216 thousand tons over the past five years.

The estimated size of the cod stock in Icelandic waters has varied considerably over the same period from 1 million tons in 1988 to 553 thousand tons in 1995 and 1996. Currently, the overall size of the cod stock is estimated at 715 thousand tons.

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