A declaration of environmental considerations by the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries
"The Ministry of Fisheries aims at achieving sustainable utilisation of marine resources and basing management decisions on the best available scientific grounds. Every effort shall be made to preserve the biodiversity and ecosystem of the ocean.
Government decisions shall show regard for the obligation of each generation to pass on to its descendants a viable environment and for the duty of nations to protect marine life and the ecosystem but also for the importance of providing wholesome products to consumers of Icelandic seafood."
In 1990 a comprehensive Fisheries Management Act was passed by the Icelandic National Parliament.
This Act is still the cornerstone of the present fisheries management system. It is based on the individual transferable quota (ITQ) system where each vessel was initially allocated a share in the total allowable catch (TAC) from the stocks.
These quotas are permanent, perfectly divisible and fairly freely transferable between vessels.
Before this Act was passed, catch quotas had already been established for the pelagic species, herring (Clupea harengus) in 1975 and capelin (Mallotus villosus) in 1980. The experience of controlling the pelagic catches for fifteen years was to a great extent utilized in the design of the management system made legal in the 1990 Act.
The management system clearly delegates responsibility for implementation of the Act.
· The Ministry of Fisheries is responsible for overall management of the Icelandic fisheries.
· The Marine Research Institute (MRI) is the centre of scientific research for marine resources and responsible for recommendationn of the annual TAC for the stocks.
· The Directorate of Fisheries and the Icelandic Coast Guard are responsible for ensuring compliance with the Fisheries Management Act. The overall aim of the 1990 Act is to protect marine resources and lead to an economic and efficient utilization of stocks. This in turn will provide the necessary strong foundation for the seafood industry and secure employment in Iceland.