Good News on Icelandic Cod Stocks
Iceland’s influential Marine Research Institute (MRI) has recently published an encouraging new report on the country’s cod stocks, the most crucial fishery for Iceland’s economy and European fish processing markets.
The MRI research has found that the 2008 cod stock was the strongest it has been since annual research trips began in the autumn of 1996.
Icelandic fishing quotas are usually based on Marine Research Institute findings which are always rigidly enforced, given the importance of fishing to the Icelandic economy. Two years ago Iceland dramatically slashed its cod quota to the dismay of fish markets in Britain and elsewhere, but last year some of that cut back was restored.
The Institute has released the final report on its autumn 2008 research mission which suggests that the cod stock last year might well have been higher than the long-term average since 1955. The fish are also larger in size, but it is too early to know if this encouraging news this will lead to further catch quota increases later this year.
The findings have surprised many observers since cod consumption is on the increase in Europe and North America and is in demand by emerging economies like China. Fishing technology has also improved which means that trawlers are far more efficient than a few decades ago. The increase in cod stocks can also be attributed to restricted fishing quotas in recent years aimed at saving the declining fish stock.