Iceland Fish & Ships

Iceland is all about fish and ships. Iceland´s history cannot be told without mentioning fish and ships – fish have been a dependable source of nutrition in a country with harsh conditions and fishing an integral part of life in Iceland for centuries. We are confident in saying that Iceland is the Silicon Valley of whitefish. The claim is justified by observing the abundance of entrepreneurship, cooperation and specialization that has led to a unique competitive advantage of the Icelandic fisheries sector.

The Iceland Fish & Ships project is developed to promote the range of services and products offered in the Icelandic marine sector. The purpose is to explain the success of the Icelandic fishing industry and spread awareness that Iceland has everything when it comes to fishing. The Icelandic Ocean Cluster offers assistance and guidance in finding the right channels in the sector.

Fishing Ship of Tomorrow

Fishing Ship of Tomorrow refers to knowledge and technology that Icelandic companies offer in relation to building, designing, equipping and handling fishing ships. Dozens of Icelandic companies provide these services both for the local industry and in the international market. Among them are naval engineering firms, software developers, makers of safety equipment, shipbuilders, companies making cooling solutions, firms providing environmental solutions and complete lines for seafood processing on ships.

An interesting development in this field is how many companies are now developing green technology. Icelandic companies offer environmentally sound solution and technology that contributes to greater utilization of the catch. Promoting this is the focus of the Fishing Ship of Tomorrow. Icelandic ship designers, naval engineers and processing tech companies have worked closely with domestic fisheries on developing new exceptional designing of fishing vessels. Fuel and energy efficiency and new propeller design are other examples.

A substantial part of the export of Iceland comes from companies providing technology for ships and fish processing. Among the products that Icelandic companies offer for ships and are sold worldwide are processing and cooling lines, electric trawl winches, controllable trawl doors and communication equipment.

Seafood Processing Technology

In Seafood Processing Technology the emphasis is on the broad line of products and solutions companies from Iceland offer for seafood processing such as fish processing lines, equipment for drying, cooling and packing. This is a field where Icelandic companies are quite established and a few are industry leaders. A significant part of the turnover of these companies comes from their business with foreign customers. Domestic fisheries have also played a part in the recent strong growth of these companies by investing in new fishing and processing equipment.

Many Icelandic companies export these kind of services and products. They provide complete processing lines, fish drying equipment, canning machinery, cooling technology, packaging goods, pallets and tubs. Recently growth in companies selling processing lines and cooling technology has been especially strong.

Companies in processing technology are of diverse sizes, everywhere from giants on a global scale to self-employed entrepreneurs. Most of these companies stress the importance of research and development, innovation and cooperating with other firms in the sector. Their varied products and services and extensive cooperation mean that they have capacity to take on large scale projects for customers worldwide.

100% Fish

100% Fish presents the range of products made out of fish in Iceland. Seafood, supplements, medical products and design are made out of fish and fish parts. Included in these products is the traditional business of providing seafood but a lot of innovation is happening in Iceland with regards to how fish is utilized and new products are being made from this development.

The thought behind 100% Fish is to display how great a part of the catch is utilized in Iceland and how little is wasted. This is possible because of improved processing and handling and through research and development with regards to providing new products out of parts previously considered waste. Dried heads and bones of fish are a prime example of this. Tons of these products are now made and exported each year out of materials previously wasted. Icelandic companies develop supplements, proteins, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other high-value products from different parts of the fish.
For more information about the 100% Fish project, please visit our page 100% Fish.


Prosperity in Iceland for the past century is substantially derived from exporting fish. Quality of seafood is therefore essential to the Icelandic seafood industry. The clean cold ocean around the country presents an abundance of pure nutrients and clean food for its fish stocks. Once caught the fish are handled with latest technology and methods. By precise handling the quality of the catch is secured and a first-rate product is sold. A variety of fish are caught and sold from Iceland although cod is by far the most important one both in volume and value. Concentrated efforts have gone into product development with the cod, recent efforts have especially gone into use of byproducts formerly thrown away.

Seafood Companies: Icelandic, Iceland Seafood, Brim Seafood, Samherji, Frosti, ThorFish, Haustak, Visir, Opal, Blamar, Isfelagid, Skinney-Thinganes, IceFreshSeafood

Alternative Marine Products: Lysi, Zymetech, Atlantic LeatherAnkra, True Westfjords, Valfoss, Protis

Fisheries and related sectors – in recent years labelled “the ocean cluster” – are the single most important part of the Icelandic economy. Detailed research concerning the sector are crucial for further growth in this important sector. Research in methods of handling, processing and catching are continuously refined and developed further. Thus a great part of recent growth in the Icelandic fishing sector stems from R&D. The R&D part of the sector is unrestrained by the limits that constrain how much fish can sustainably be caught and therefore a lot of foreseeable growth in the fishing sector will depend on further R&D.

See more: Matis Food & Biotech, Iceland Marine Research Institute, Syni Research

Top of the line marine related education is offered in Iceland. The future of the fishing industry relies on a competent workforce with adequate education. Marine science, aquaculture, fisheries science are examples of fields of education that can be pursued in Iceland. Programs are offered both in English as well as in Icelandic and therefore international students can seek education fit for work in the sector to Iceland.

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Because of thorough and extensive insight in the fishing industry of Iceland, detailed advice can be provided through numerous channels. Around the world the advice of Icelanders has been sought for assistance in the fishing sector and Icelanders have vast knowledge and experience to offer for the global market. The exchange of knowledge can take many forms, it can be offered with regards to how to catch fish in the most economical and sustainable way, how to maximize value of catch with precise processing or assistance in choosing correct machinery and technology for the business.

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Almost all seafood caught in Iceland is exported and sold in markets abroad. As a result there is great proficiency in selling and marketing fish in Iceland. Strong connections have been established worldwide and clever marketing strategies have carried Icelandic fish onto plates worldwide. The mature marketing and sales experience can offer insight and help facilitate business around the world.

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The fisheries management system in Iceland lays the ground for an economically sound industry as well as conservative and sustainable utilization of fish stocks. Incentives are balanced properly with the system. The fish stocks, a public good, are privately harvested within limits set by scientific observations of the Marine Research Institute. Many lessons have been learnt from experience with the fisheries management system during the last decades. The fisheries management system of Iceland has now been recognized internationally as a success. Professionals from Iceland offer assistance and guidance in running fisheries management systems for clients worldwide.

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Icelandic banks, insurance companies and financial institutions have decades of experience working with fisheries. In the financial system of Iceland there is widespread recognition and understanding of what services are required to assist the fishing sector running without concerns and easing focus on the long term without worries of day to day finances. These services are offered to clientele worldwide in the seafood sector.

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Seafood is a delicate product that requires swift and secure shipment. Solving this in Iceland is a dynamic transportation network. Iceland‘s geographical position is unique and calls for calculated logistics. Although the island is remote it is also centrally located between Europe and North-America. The geographical position of the island offers both challenges and opportunities. A vast transportation net has been developed where both passengers and products can reach their destinations quickly and sensible transportation between Europe and North-America can be made through the country.

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The fisheries management system in Iceland aligned incentives correctly so that sustainability is secured and efficiency is encouraged. The industry can thus focus on business for the long run. Streamlining has taken place in the industry and fisheries are constantly seeking ways of simplifying and improving efficiency. This search has laid the grounds for a strong technology sector to prosper. Varied products and solutions aimed at advancing fisheries have been made or are in the making. Processing lines, cooling methods, ingenious packaging and modern fishing technique are among the many technological products that have been brought into existence in Iceland.

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