An extraordinary capelin season will be a strong driver for Iceland’s economy as bumper catches means high income from hunting fees from ships
The Association of Companies in the Fisheries Industry in Iceland, SFS is reporting an extraordinary season for capelin fishing in the country.
The SFS has particular praise for the processing industry who had to adapt to a massive increase in volume. It said:
“It can be said with improbability how successful Icelandic pelagic companies have been with capelin fishing in recent weeks. As most of you know, there were big changes in the capelin advice of the Icelandic Maritime Research Institute in February. At the beginning of the month, the institute increased its capelin advice by over 57,000 tonnes and then again towards the end of the month by another 184,000 tonnes. Before this increase, the share of Icelandic ships was 132,000 tonnes, but after it had reached over 312,000 tonnes. A special allocation of over 17,000 tonnes was added to that, and the maximum permitted capacity of Icelandic ships was thus reached over 329,000 tonnes. This increase led to the fact that all the pelagic companies had to reorganize their operations at once, as there was very little time to plan as the most valuable part of the capelin season was just around the corner.
“According to figures from the Icelandic Fisheries Agency, the Icelandic pelagic vessels have managed to land around 318,000 tonnes so far this season (as of Tuesday 28 March 2023). That is more than 96% of the capelin quota. However, it is likely that something will be added to the figures of the Icelandic Fisheries Agency in the coming days and even that the capelin quota is already in place. In this way, the landings are not published until the weighing is completed, which can take several days to be displayed on the website of the Icelandic Fisheries Agency. In any case, all that can be said is that this result is simply amazing!”
Such high landings will also see a massive boost to the economy. It says:
“The above results are definitely not a given. It can be attributed to the persistence and courage of the managers and employees of the companies, who have worked in the dark between the last few weeks. It is estimated that the capelin season will generate around ISK 40 billion in export earnings. At the same time, it is clear that this will have a significant impact on the income of employees, service companies and thus on the income of the national treasury and municipalities. We must also not forget the obvious, that is the effect this has on the treasury’s income from hunting fees. Now it can be expected that the hunting fee will be 1 billion ISK €6.7m/£5.9m) more than what was estimated in the budget, other things being equal.
“In the budget, it was calculated that the treasury’s income from hunting fees would be 8.6 billion ISK (€57.8m/£50.8m) this year. Its calculation was based, among other things, on the assumption that the capelin quota for the current fishing year would be around 132,000 tonnes, as it was before the advisory was increased. You have to pay about 5.54 ISK (€0.04/£0.3) for each kilogram of capelin, which is the highest amount of fishing fee since the beginning of capelin. This 132,000-tonne quota is equivalent to 730 million ISK (€4.9m/£4.3m) in fishing fees from capelin hunting. As mentioned before, the capelin catch has already reached almost 318,000 tonnes and it is likely that it will be closer to 329,000 tonnes when everything has returned. It also means that capelin hunting will eventually bring in around ISK 1,800 million in fishing fees. It also means that the treasury’s income will be close to 9.7 billion ISK (€65m/£57m) from hunting fees this year, other things being equal. It makes less difference!”