Iceland GuonyKaradottir

Icelandic companies have joined together at the second Seafood Barcelona event to promote the quality of Icelandic salted fish products (bacaloa).

At a vendor session during the show, Guony Karadottir, director of food and fisheries and agriculture marketing manager for Iceland Responsible Fisheries, announced the “Taste and Share the secret of Icelandic bacalo” marketing initiative of 26 Icelandic seafood companies that produce and sell bacalao, along with Promote Iceland and The Icelandic Salted Fish Association.

According to Karadottir, research shows that Iceland is leading in quality for bacaloa.

“We wanted to follow up on that, telling people where the fish is coming from,” she told SeafoodSource. “The fact is that all around Iceland there are these villages dependent on making fish for demanding markets. There is a lot of product development going on and also a lot of research on how to preserve the fish.”

Karadottir said that the response at the show has been positive, but that it’s too early to tell how well the campaign will do.

The initiative focuses mainly on cod products due to the quantity landed by the country — seafood is Iceland’s primary export product, and cod is the most valuable accounting for 40 percent of the total exports.

In 2007, the country launched its long-term harvesting strategy for cod stocks.

It is this plan that Karadottir credits for allowing Iceland’s cod quotas to increase annually while other countries — including Russia and Norway — are seeing lower TACs. When the strategy began, it allowed harvesting of only 20 percent of the cod biomass, putting the quota at about 138,000 metric tons. In 2010 the quota was increased to 178,000 MT, in 2012 194,000 MT and for the 2013-2014 season it is at 214,000.

Karadottir expects the country’s cod quota to continue to increase. She said it is the industry and government’s resolve to stick to the scientific recommendations and quota decisions is key.

“We want to demonstrate the complete transparency carried out in our responsible fisheries management.”

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