Icelandic Fish Popular in the U.S. Despite Whaling Skip to content

Icelandic Fish Popular in the U.S. Despite Whaling

By Iceland Review

The sale of fish from Iceland to the U.S. has increased steadily in the past years in spite of calls from conservationists to boycott Icelandic seafood and the U.S. administration’s threat to place an embargo on fish imports from Iceland because of commercial whaling.

Icelandic fish is the most popular imported fish in the U.S., ruv.is reports.

Promote Iceland hosted a meeting on Tuesday to discuss increased opportunities for Icelandic seafood in the U.S. Hlynur Guðjónsson, Iceland’s consul and business representative in New York, addressed the meeting, highlighting the importance of the North American market to Icelandic fish producers and exporters.

“It poses a certain counterbalance to other markets and we have observed in the past two to three years that when there are difficulties, such as in Europe, trade has to a certain extent shifted to the U.S. and Canada,” Hlynur explained.

“The U.S. is the largest importer of haddock and farmed fish. In 2013 almost 60 percent of salmon and 40 percent of Arctic char was sent there,” Hlynur told RÚV. “I believe there are opportunities for salted fish. We have seen examples of that in Canada.”

Seafood used in Japanese dishes could also prove popular, Hlynur added, as well as fully-processed seafood products. He stated that commercial whaling has not hindered export of fish to the U.S. “It is generally recognized that the [Icelandic] fisheries control system is the best in the world.”

Hlynur attributes fluctuations in the market to the age of consumers and their financial situation, as well as the overall economic situation. The economic situation is currently improving in the U.S., he said, which is good for Icelandic seafood exporters. “We have observed a significant increase in 2012, 2013 and probably also in 2014.”

Hlynur added that the trademark ‘Iceland’ has extensive value in this market. Surveys which have been carried out on behalf of the marketing initiative Iceland Naturally since 1999 indicate that the origin of seafood is of significant importance to American consumers.

“When we consider the country of origin, Iceland comes third after what we can call the local markets, that is, Alaska and the U.S.,” Hlynur revealed.

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