June 26, 2019

ICES Gives Iceland Cod Stock Clean Bill of Health

Iceland has managed its fisheries in a responsible and sustainable way for decades. This has shifted the focus from quantity to quality, triggering a steady increase in value. Recent figures show that cod stocks in Icelandic waters are in good health.

Fishing pressure in Icelandic waters and the Greenland Sea is at historical lows, according to estimates by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

The findings, published earlier this month by ICES, show that recruitment has been stable since 1988 and ICES recommends a three percent rise in catch to 272,411 metric tons, based on a steady increase in spawning stock biomass.

More Isn't Always Better

Actual harvest in the last fishing year totaled 264,992 metric tons, the highest levels of catch since 1991. Ten years earlier, or in 1981, Iceland’s fishing fleet landed about 480,000 metric tons of Atlantic cod, based on figures gathered by our Russian regional manager Pétur Jakob Pétursson.

The value of the catch amounted to $317 million, Pétursson’s figures show. However, in 2016 the country’s fleet delivered about 264,000 metric tons, valued at a whopping $832 million. That is a massive value increase.

Value creation: a smaller catch generates higher revenue

Value in Efficiency

Pétursson says the sharp rise in value can partly be contributed to an increase in the awareness of quality over quantity, mixed with advances in processing technology and throughput.

This is highlighted by the fact that in 1996 the average was 12 kilos per man-hour, in comparison to 190 kilos in 2017.

Technology Makes the Difference

Skaginn 3X has a clear vision of the future of processing and a demonstrated history in aiding its customers in boosting quality, introducing cost-savings via increased automation and energy consumption—allowing fisheries firms to maximize the total allowable catch (TAC).

In addition, we have devised innovative solutions—such as our frame cutting machine—that enable our customers to obtain and monetize byproducts of the highest quality. Icelandic cod is one of the world’s most plentiful whitefish species, but up to 60% of cod’s biomass remains after filleting. So, there’s a lot of possibility for byproduct harvesting.

Realizing Byproduct Value

These include trimmings in fishmeal production; liver and cod liver oil are valuable items in the supplements sector; dried heads and backbones are sold as delicacies in African markets; and dried swim bladders provide highly-prized “maw” in Asian markets. In fact, some of these items actually generate larger incomes than the traditional food products.

We at Skaginn 3X are proud to contribute to this immense rise in value creation of sustainable fisheries, from improving the bottom line with our turnkey solutions to maximizing the value of byproducts.


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