Good news on Iceland cod stock may mean higher quota –

Good news on Iceland cod stock may mean higher quota Published:  03 May, 2011

ICELAND could be ready to significantly increase its cod quota for the second successive year.

Reports from the country’s Marine Research Institute shows that the cod stock index – the barometer used when deciding catch limits – is up for the fourth time. Just as important, the study shows that the average weight for four to nine-year-old cod has also been growing which means fewer fish are needed to make up each ton. Reports from Iceland said the latest findings will be submitted as evidence when the new quotas are set, usually around June or early July. For catch quota purposes, the Iceland fishing year starts on September 1st.

Last year Iceland raised its annual cod catch by 10,000 tons to 160,000 tons and industry leaders are talking of a new quota for 2011-12 of around 180,000 – and possibly more.

Iceland’s Fisheries Minister Jon Bjarnason, welcomed the findings, although he was non-committal about quotas. Frederick J. Arngrímsson, head of LIU, the Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners Association, described the research as “very positive news”.

It will certainly help further boost Iceland’s reputation as a country with a highly sustainable and well managed fish control system.  Two months ago its cod stocks were certified as ethical and sustainable by the Global trust, an independent body.

However, there is not the same optimism with haddock. Similar research by the Icelandic MRI shows that the haddock index stock has been declining and is now just over a quarter of what it was four of five years ago. Further catch cuts could be on the way this year.