Iceland-Norway herring debate resumed Skip to content

Iceland-Norway herring debate resumed

Discussions over how to divide the Atlanto-Scandian Spring Spawning Herring quota will resume in Norway today. Last discussions ended with disagreement in 2005.

According to Fréttabladid, Norway has said in the past that they are entitled to fish 70 percent of the quota. That leaves 30 percent for Iceland to share with the Faroe Islands, Russia and the EU countries, which also fish the Atlanto-Scandian herring.

Stefán Ásmundsson, head of the Icelandic discussion committee, said Iceland wants at least 15.54 percent, which is what they used to have according to an agreement from 1996.

The discussions today are the third round of discussions between Iceland and Norway regarding the quota. In 2005, discussions ended when Norway decided to increase their quota by 14 percent – thereby changing the agreement from 1996 in a move which was harshly criticized by the Icelandic government.

According to Fréttabladid, the Icelandic government called Norway’s decision “unfair” and “unrealistic” and said it could put the sustainability of the shared herring stock in danger.

In an interview with, Thorsteinn Sigurdsson of the Icelandic Marine Research Institute said the Atlanto-Scandian Spring Spawning Herring breeds in Norway and spends the winter there. In April the herring moves into Faroese, Icelandic and international waters and returns to the western coast of Norway the following winter.

Sigurdsson said the herring stock was nearly fished to extinction in the late 1960s, but now it is in good condition. The quota is designed to protect the herring stock, Sigurdsson explained.

The total value of the Norwegian-Icelandic herring stock quota is ISK 50 billion (EUR 544 million, USD 705 million).

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!

Share article