Iceland Maximizes Value of Mackerel Catch Skip to content

Iceland Maximizes Value of Mackerel Catch

Around 90 percent of the mackerel caught in Icelandic waters this summer will be used for human consumption to maximize its value instead of being used for fish meal or fish oil as has been common practice with smaller fish, such as herring and capelin.


Icelandic trawlers. Photo by Bjarni Brynjólfsson.

Representatives of large-scale fish processing plants told Morgunbladid that it appears that the share of the mackerel catch that is exported frozen will increase from 60 percent in 2010 to 90 percent this season. In 2009, 80 percent of the mackerel catch was used for oil production.

The mackerel season, which began in June, is going well. At Vinnslustödin in the Westman Islands, south Iceland, over 11,000 tons of mackerel have been caught so far.

The three ships of HB Grandi that are fishing mackerel this season have caught 9,000 tons of their 15,000-ton quota. All of the catch is processed at Vopnafjördur in the east.

At Skinney-Thinganes at Hornafjördur, southeast Iceland, 5,000 tons of mackerel have been caught since the season began. At all of these companies, 70-90 percent of the catch is frozen for human consumption.

After failing to reach an agreement with other mackerel fishing nations in the North Atlantic earlier this year, Icelandic fishing authorities issued a unilateral quota of 146,000 tons—a controversial move.

Icelandic waters are currently filled with mackerel; schools of the fish have even been spotted swimming in the harbor of Reykjavík. The mackerel fishing season will probably continue into September.

Click here to read more about the mackerel dispute.


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