Iceland has right to cash in on mackerel realities, says technology boss


Sigmar Gudbjornsson managing director of Iceland’s Star-Oddi Ltd, a developer and manufacturer of technology used in aquatic and fisheries research, said it was his personal view that migratory change in relation to mackerel had to be acknowledged.

And therefore quota agreements were not necessarily set in stone.

Iceland and Faroe have sparked a major controversy by claiming sizeable mackerel quotas for themselves which has sparked a furious reaction from the EU, the commmunity’s pelagic fisheries sector and also Norway.

But today, Mr Gudbjornsson effectively called for acknowledgement of change when it came to the division of mackerel quota.

He said Icelanders had seen how the mackerel stock is changing its migration routes and going farther North into Iceland’s economic zone, which is probably, he said, related to climatic changes.

They would expect this to continue for decades to come, possibly with other fish species following and other cold species will go from Iceland farther North.

With mackerel in Icelandic waters in such huge quantities, this influences the whole life chain in Icelandic waters, where mackerel “vacuums up food that other commercial fish stocks live on, and birds and mammals, influencing their survival,” he said.

And seen from his perspective, he would have liked the mackerel not to have entered the Icelandic fishing zone.

“However as it has happened, and the mackerel is taking its toll in Icelandic waters, then I feel that Iceland have the right to take their share of the stock.

“It should then be discussed or even better calculated how much a share Iceland and the Faroese should have; Iceland and the Faroese have obtained right to the mackerel stock. The quota size will not be decided alone by EU countries and Norway anymore,” Mr Gudbjornsson contended.

He said the EU had the means to put pressure on Iceland and put into action some kind of trade ban in reaction to the unilateral quota situation, which would show how far they were willing to go in obtaining a deal for their members, even though, he contended, right is not on their side.

It was he added a question now of acknowledging that agreements do not need to stay the same forever.

Even if there has been an agreement, stocks change their behaviour.

Star-Odd was founded in Iceland in 1985, it has since its inception been a leading developer and manufacturer of technology used in aquatic and fisheries research.

In 1993 they developed and started manufacturing a data storage tag which is a miniature data logger. It was originally designed as a small fish data logger in cooperation with marine research institutes, for tagging species such as cod and halibut, collecting information on behavior of commercial and valuable species. The loggers are also used in various other underwater researches as well as in pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries.