Tag Archives: Iceland

The Great Lakes-Iceland connection through the 100% Whitefish effort

While Great Lakes fish populations are constantly in a state of flux, one species has declined precipitously in the last decade: lake whitefish. But Great Lakes leaders and fisheries managers are looking ahead in planning to do more with less. And in the case of whitefish, a lot more. The search for a way to preserve an industry with a shrinking natural resource brought the Iceland Ocean Cluster (IOC) into focus. IOC was founded by Thor Sigfusson in 2012 with a dozen companies on-site. There are now 70. So, what is it? And could it work as a model for the Great Lakes’ new whitefish initiative? >click to read< 17:09

Catch Shares Enable Wealthy Landlords to Gobble Up Local Fisheries

A recent investigative report has reignited public discussion over catch shares, a controversial approach to fisheries management that privatizes the rights to fish. The investigation exposed how Blue Harvest Fisheries, owned by a billionaire Dutch family, became the largest holder of commercial fishing rights in New England, benefiting from lax antitrust regulations and pilfering profits from the local fishermen who work under them. As a commercial fisherman in Mississippi, I know these dynamics go well beyond New England. Here in the Gulf of Mexico, private equity firms and other large investors have come in and gobbled up the rights to fish, driving up the cost of fishing access and making it prohibitively expensive for fishermen like me to harvest fish in our own backyards. >click to read< 07:55

Iceland’s herring girls transformed a town before kicking off a tourist boom

Clad in waterproof coveralls, heavy boots and thick gloves, a group of women line up under the midnight sun, waiting for returning fishing boats to dock. As soon as a ship reaches the harbour, they kick into gear, pulling herring after herring from barrels, decapitating and gutting them, before packing them in salt and spices, singing while they work. Siglufjörður, or Siglo as it is known to locals, is an uncommonly scenic slice of northern Iceland. Before the herring industry started here in 1903, it was a sparsely populated hamlet with little work paid with money rather than meat or other goods. But as salted herring became a staple in many European countries, catching and processing the fish became its main focus and everything changed. >click to read< 11:32

World’s First All-Electric Longline Handling System

F/V Kap Farvel is the first fishing boat in the world that started using the all-electric longline handling system from Mørenot. Already after one week of testing followed by seven weeks of fishing, the feedback from the skipper and crew is unanimous: This is the longline system of the future! For several years, Mørenot has been challenging the idea of a traditional hydraulic longline system with its first fully electric longline system for both deep sea and coastal fisheries. Seeing the opportunity of a high-tech electrical longline system, Mørenot has heavily invested in innovation that enables fishers to effortlessly achieve higher efficiency, lower energy consumption, and better working conditions. Mørenot’s VP Alf Rune Ose explains how their engineers in Iceland developed the complete mechanical system with an updated LineTech longline control system to revolutionize the fishing industry. Mørenot has designed a system that is suitable for fishing operations worldwide. photos, >click to read< 21:16

Largest Cod of the Year?

The crew of the trawler Bergey VE from Vestmannaeyjar islands had a reason to cheer this week, when they caught a huge cod, “It was a cod that weighed about 50 kg (110 lbs) and measured 1.8 meters (70 in),” states Captain Jón Valgeirsson. “It was old and respectable and managed to escape all nets and trawls year after year.” This could be the largest cod of the year. It was caught in the the Háfadýpi fishing ground. Last year’s largest cod weighed 51 kg. It was caught by the crew of the boat Sólrún EA near Kolbeinsey islet, north of Iceland.  >click to read< 07:35

Iceland: Coastal Fishermen Unhappy With Reduced Cod Quota

Small boat fishermen in Iceland are unhappy with the government’s decision to reduce their cod fishing quota from 10,000 tonnes down to 8,500 for the coming summer season, Last year a total of 670 fishermen held coastal fishing licences. “Certain politicians predicted [coastal fishing] would explode. However, since the current system was implemented, the number of fishermen has fluctuated between 600 and 726. “While handline fishing is romantic, there’s a lot of hard work and sweat and tears mixed in with the romance,” >click to read< 08:55

Örfirisey’s skipper Thór Thórarinsson ending a successful 50-year career at sea.

Brim’s freezer trawler Örfirisey docked in Reykjavík before Christmas after a good trip on fishing grounds to the south and west of Iceland and off the Westfjords. This was the final trip for Örfirisey’s skipper Thór Thórarinsson, ending a successful 50-year career at sea. Of this time, he has been on Örfirisey for around thirty years, since the trawler came to Iceland in 1992 from its previous owners in the Faroe Islands. >click to read< 22:35

The last cowboys – a replay of the story of cattle in the American West

Norway, a country less than a quarter the size of Alaska, is on pace to bring 1.2 million tonnes of salmon to market this year, and the technologists in that country are talking about the potential to grow their production to 3 million tonnes per year by 2030. Chile, Scotland, the Faroe Islands, and Canada are all significant producers with lesser production in Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, France, Ireland and Finland. Meanwhile, land-based, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) farms are threatening to lead to an explosion in salmon aquaculture almost everywhere. To truly understand the threat these farmers pose to the future of one of Alaska’s oldest and still largest industries,,, >click to read< 08:52

UK Fisheries call for tariffs on Norway, Greenland and Iceland to compensate for access loss of their waters

Despite two years of campaigning to save the UK’s distant-waters fishing industry, UK Fisheries Ltd’s state-of-the-art vessel Kirkella (pictured), a cod and haddock freezer trawler and part of the UK’s distant waters fishing fleet, is once again tied up in Hull. UK Fisheries still have no access to the Norwegian coastal waters where our crews should be working right now. >click to read< 07:13

Five Unions Press Charges Against Fishing Company following Coronavirus Outbreak Aboard Fishing Vessel

Five unions are joining forces to press charged against a captain and fishing company for keeping a crew of 25 at sea for three weeks despite a COVID-19 outbreak on board. Twenty-three of the 25 crew members became infected by the novel coronavirus in the outbreak, many developing serious symptoms. The ship stayed out at sea for several weeks contrary to guidelines from authorities and many ill crew members kept working. The five unions are pressing charges against the captain of the freezer trawler Júlíus Geirmundsson, on which the incident occurred, as well as against the fishing company that runs the ship, Hraðfrystihúsið Gunnvör. >click to read< 14:33

“No one knew about this COVID thing,” says CEO that kept sick fishermen at sea

The CEO of a seafood company that kept COVID-infected fishermen at sea for three weeks has responded to public criticism with a statement and interview that leaves more questions than answers. Twenty-two of 25 crew members on one of the company’s ships contracted COVID-19 shortly after setting out to sea. The company has been under fire,,, Einar Valur’s statements in an interview with Vísir also seemed contradictory. Though he admitted the company “underestimated the conditions on board,” he also stated that “This is new. No one knew about this COVID thing. >click to read< 13:40

‘Deplorable Circumstances’ for Coronavirus Infected Freezer Trawler Crew

They’re out at sea and unable to go anywhere, watch men falling ill, but the processing of the fish continues, and they keep fishing; it is windy,” Finnbogi Sveinbjörnsson, head of the Union of the Residents of the West Fjords, “As our vice chairman so appropriately phrased it, ‘Fishermen work as long as they’re able to stand,’ but this is no joking matter,” he adds. He is referring to an issue widely discussed in Iceland over the weekend, where one after another, the crew members of  the freezer trawler Júlíus Geirmundsson, owned by the fishing company Hraðfrystihúsið Gunnvör, fell ill while the trawler was out fishing and were denied the opportunity to return to harbor to be tested for COVID-19 until three weeks had gone by. >click to read< 08:53

Fishing Company under Fire for Keeping Coronavirus Infected Crew at Sea for Three Weeks

Despite crew members developing flu-like symptoms one by one, Júlíus Geirmundsson didn’t return to harbour until it needed to refuel last Sunday, after three weeks at sea. During refuelling, the crew was tested for COVID-19 but left again for the fishing grounds before the results were in. They returned as soon as it was discovered that the majority of the crew had contracted COVID-19.,,  Hákon Blöndal, the ship’s first engineer, called out the fishing company’s explanation,, “This isn’t the whole story, and people have to grow a pair and admit their mistakes,” >click to read< 15:38

Fighting for Fish – The Cod Wars and Today: Lessons from an Almost War

Not once, but three times in the 20th Century, cod was almost the causus belli between Iceland and the United Kingdom in a string of events referred to collectively as the “Cod Wars.”1 The Cod Wars, taken together, make clear that issues of maritime governance and access to maritime resources can spark inter-state conflict even among allied nations. Fishing rights can be core issues that maritime states will vigorously defend. The First Cod War started on September 1st, 1958. Icelandic coastguardsmen sought to arrest and impound any British trawlers within their new 12-mile limit. >click to read< 09:59

Icelandic Cod Spray Bodes Well Against Coronavirus

While several countries across the globe are vying to create a vaccine against COVID-19, Iceland, a nation of fishermen, has come up with a possible solution of its own. PreCold, a mouth spray intended to be used against the first symptoms of a cold based on cod enzymes, has proven efficient during tests and managed to deactivate about 98.3% of the virus that causes COVID-19, national broadcaster RÚV reported. The spray creates a protective film in the pharynx where the viruses that cause the common cold tend to localise and replicate. The film using enzymes extracted from cod offal, weakens viruses so they fail to replicate to a degree that makes the host sick. >click to read< 07:27

Further protection measures coming to protect North Atlantic right whales

Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says Ottawa will announce further measures in the coming weeks to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Speaking to a fishing gear innovation summit in Halifax today, Jordan didn’t release any details of the coming measures.,, The minister says testing also continues on new technology such as ropeless gear, which could help reduce the risk of entanglements for whales. More than 250 harvesters and fishing gear manufacturers from Canada, the United States, Iceland and Norway are attending the two-day summit. >click to read< 12:50

U.S. ratifies The Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean

The United States has become the fourth jurisdiction after Canada, the European Union and Russia to ratify a landmark international agreement that aims to prevent unregulated commercial fishery in the high seas of the Central Arctic Ocean, officials at the State Department announced Tuesday. The Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, which was signed in Ilulissat, Greenland last October, includes the so-called Arctic Five – Canada, Norway, Russia, Denmark (Greenland and the Faroe Islands), the U.S. – as well as the major fishing nations – Iceland, Japan, South Korea, China and the EU. >click to read< 17:56

Supply and Demand – Fishermen In Iceland Will Not Hunt Whales For The First Time In 17 Years

Fishermen from Iceland will not hunt whales this summer, this will the first year in 17 years that the fishermen will abandon the whale hunting season. Owners of fishery companies explained why they will be skipping this season, they said that the low demand for whale meat in countries like Japan has forced them to abandon the whale hunting season this year. Loftsson explained their decision, he said that this was all because of the low demand in the Japanese Market. But according to a captain, the real reason why fishermen were skipping this year’s hunting season is that the permit was not handed out in time. >click to read< 14:03

Pompeo calls out Canada, China, Russia over Arctic policy. China entitled to ‘exactly nothing.’

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stunned onlookers Monday by taking swipes at Canada, China and Russia in a speech to delegates attending the Arctic Council ministerial. Pompeo, along with foreign ministers from the seven other Arctic nations — Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Russia — is in Rovaniemi, Finland this week for the eleventh Arctic Council ministerial meeting. Pompeo used his speech to call out countries he accused of making illegitimate claims to Arctic territory, citing Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage as internal waters. The U.S. considers the Northwest Passage to be international waters. >click to read<09:57

US climate objections sink Arctic Council accord in Finlandclick to read<10:39

In Iceland, activists, industry are raging war over commercial whaling

In Iceland, a worldwide hotspot for whale watching, gentle giants seem to rule the sea. But all the while some species of whales are still being hunted. Iceland is one of just two countries in the world that allows commercial whaling in defiance of the International Whaling Commission’s ban on whaling, making this island nation the frontlines of the war on whaling. “Iceland is all fishermen,” said Kristjan Loftsson, the managing director of the Icelandic whale hunting company, Hvalur H/F. “We are utilizing the ocean.” >click to read<14:30

Kristjan Loftsson’s company is the last one in the world still hunting fin whales. His credo: “If it’s sustainable, you hunt.”

Mr. Loftsson, 75, is the world’s last commercial hunter of fin whales. He has been denounced by environmental groups and his boats have been sunk by radical activists, but his business is legal here because Iceland doesn’t recognize the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Mr. Loftsson likes to say that whale blood runs in his veins. For Mr. Loftsson and his supporters, whaling is no different than agriculture or fisheries. “If it’s sustainable, you hunt,” he said. >click to read<10:48

How Iceland Beat the British in the Four Cod Wars

In Icelandic, they were known as Þorskastríðin, “the cod strife,” or Landhelgisstríðin, “the wars for the territorial waters.” In English, they were simply “the Cod Wars.” Between the late 1940s and 1976, the two island nations of Iceland and the United Kingdom all but declared war—despite the fact that there were almost no casualties, and the former had no army. In the frigid waters between these two nations, four confrontations took place between Great Britain, a world superpower, and Iceland, a microstate of just a few hundred thousand people. Each time, Iceland won. And it all happened because of cod—and the right to fish it. These were the Cod Wars. >click to read<08:56

Iceland company to resume commercial hunting of fin whales

A whaling company in Iceland said Tuesday it is preparing its fleet to bring commercial hunting of fin whales back to the Nordic island nation after a two-year freeze. Whaling company Hvalur hf (Whale Inc.) said it is readying two vessels for the 100-day summer whaling season. Fin whale hunting stopped in Iceland after the 2015 hunt, when Japanese authorities refused to import Iceland’s catch because of unmet health code requirements. Fin whales are the world’s second-largest whales after blue whales, and Iceland is the only country where the marine mammals can be hunted commercially. >click to read<15:24

12 hours on a fishing trawler in Iceland.

It was about 5:30 am when we boarded the fishing trawler. The slick deck of the boat was barely visible under the dim sodium vapor lamps as we were greeted by handshakes and warm good mornings from the crew members. The night before, my Italian producer and I had driven 2.5 hours from Reykjavik after a night of drinking. We’d barreled along desolate, straight highways to a small homestay where an elderly Icelandic man had shuffled us into a room lined with bunk beds before setting off to sea. We’d missed every famously photographed landmark in Iceland on this trip, but the ensuing 12 hours on an Icelandic fishing trawler made it all worthwhile. Photo article, >click here< 10:15

Iceland is selling whole, raw lobsters – already shelled – for £15.

At this price, the lobsters, weighing about 140g, are considerably more expensive than the ones already in their shell that the likes of Aldi sell at Christmas for £6, or the pair of lobster tails that Asda sells for £12. But Iceland is confident that it will be a hit with British shoppers, many of whom see lobster as a key part of a Christmas buffet or meal. Sales of lobster jumped 32 per cent last year, helped by a price war which saw Lidl sell lobster for just £2.99 for a limited time in December. click here to read the story 09:35

Fisherman’s Strike Ends: “We Had A Gun To Our Heads”, Says Union Leader

The strike that went on for about two months has finally drawn to a close, but one union official says the deal was reached after the Minister of Fisheries essentially threatened to enact a law forcing the fishermen back to work. RÚV reports that the vote to go back to work was a close one: 52.4% voted in favour, with 46.9% voting against, and only 53.7% of eligible fishermen took part in the vote. As to be expected from such a close vote, opinion was mixed amongst fishermen reporters spoke to. A great many were simply pleased to be back to work, while many others were still unsatisfied with the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement. Continue reading the story here 09:10

Australian Government ‘disappointed’ as minke whale slaughtered in our waters – Why the Hunt Goes On

The Federal Government has this morning condemned Japan after one of its ships was caught whaling in the waters off Antarctica. Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd released photos showing a dead minke whale on the deck of the Nisshin Maru ship in the Australian whaling sanctuary. It appears the death was playing out at the same time as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s weekend meeting with Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney, at which the ABC reports whaling was ‘mentioned’, but focused on trade and defence. Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on whaling in force since 1986. But it exploits a loophole allowing whales to be killed for the purposes of “scientific research”. Read the story here What are the issues behind Japan’s whaling programme, and why has compromise been so difficult? Isn’t whaling banned? Not quite. The International Whaling Commission (IWC), which regulates the industry, agreed to a moratorium on commercial whaling from the 1985. But it did allow exceptions, enough for Japan to hunt more than 20,000 whales since. Read the story here 11:28

Fisheries management kills both fish stocks and fishermen

Fishery management seems only to reduce the fishery and to counterbalance that, fishermen are killed. The modern mathematical fishery management has been a total failure. Constant cuts in effort and quotas to protect stocks against supposed “over fishing” in order to build up stocks in order to get increased catches later have not lived up to the promises, least to say. But the orthodox science will not face the truth. Below is a link to a presentation I had on the subject at a recent conference in Faroe Islands. There they abandoned the quota system in 1996 and took up effort system, based on days at sea. But a constant reduction of days, to prevent over fishing, has ruined the fishing grounds. Please note that there is both English and Danish text in the presentation, saying the same thing. This presentation is about  the result of fishery management. The scientists maintained that by  reducing  the catch of small fish they would grow bigger and give more catch later. In most cases this has not been the case, and we are still waiting for the later to come. Examples are shown. Read the presentation by Jon Kristjansson, fisheries scientist, Iceland Click here 16:36

Shoreside Workers’ Wallets Affected by Fishermen’s Strike

Numerous workers in fish processing are out of a job, due the fishermen’s strike, which resumed December 14. A number of workers in Vestmannaeyjar islands are now registering as unemployed, mbl.is reports. The fishermen’s strike has extensive effects, both on jobs at sea and in fish processing, in addition to affecting Iceland’s position on fish markets. One after another, fish processing plants reduce their operations as they run out of fish. Employees are, thus, faced with uncertainty. Four out of six fish processing plants in Vestmannaeyjar had to halt processing due to a lack of fish before last weekend, and the rest will cease processing this week. Most plants in the West Fjords have run out of fish. Only catches from small fishing boats, not affected by the strike, can be processed, but not many of those are fishing these days. When fish is lacking, the law allows for employees to be taken off the payroll and be registered as unemployed without delay, mbl.is reports. According to RÚV, fish processing plants in the West Fjords have no plans to take their employees off the payroll, but without fish, no overtime or piecework is paid, thus, reducing the workers’ income. Link 14:30

Dozens of Icelandic Fishermen Charged with Tax Fraud

th8kvtxc4nFifty-seven Icelandic fishermen, who worked for Icelandic fisheries abroad, are suspected of having failed to pay income tax in Iceland, where they resided, Fréttatíminn reports. Their cases comprise more than half of the 108 tax fraud cases connected to the Panama Papers, which are under investigation by the Directorate of Tax Investigation in Iceland. The Directorate has filed charges in a majority of the fishermen’s cases, which are now in the hands of a district prosecutor. The fishermen worked for Icelandic fisheries in Africa, among others, but lived in Iceland. In some cases, tax evasions are believed to amount to tens of millions of krónur. Read the rest here 11:24