Iceland’s heavy reliance on the ocean and its resources makes it critical to identify and quantify the value of these resources for all future planning and policy making.
The Iceland Ocean Cluster, a group consisting of leaders of ocean-related businesses in Iceland, today announced that it has begun to map a network of Icelandic firms to foster cooperation among seafood and other ocean-related industries in the country. The Iceland Ocean Cluster was presented at a conference held at Marel headquarters in Iceland on Nov. 17, 2011.
At the initial startup of the Iceland Ocean Cluster project in 2010 a gap was identified regarding the turnover in all ocean-related industries and how they interconnected. Detailed public information regarding the traditional fisheries sector was available, but there was a lack of thorough information about various other sectors such as seafood, technology, and biotechnology.
The mapping of the Iceland Ocean Cluster represents the first comprehensive and broad picture of ocean-related industries and services, their magnitude, threats and opportunities, according to Thor Sigfusson, Managing Director of the Iceland Ocean Cluster.
“Published in Icelandic under the title Sjávarklasinn, the mapping campaign will provide a profile of Iceland’s ocean economy and lay the groundwork for strategic planning in 2012 upon which future changes could be measured and analyzed,” he said.
Iceland’s ocean territories and jurisdiction extend to 0.76 million square kilometers and encompass a wealth of natural resources. The Icelandic economy is one of the most seafood dependent economies in the world, and the country has the highest per capita sea catch in the world. In recent years annual catches have amounted to about 1.3 million metric tons, some 1.5-2% of the global marine harvest. About 40% of the country’s export earnings have been generated by seafood products.
“Iceland has a unique proposition when it comes to its ocean industries. Iceland is a leader in fishery management and has been very active locally and globally within the United Nations and FAO helping,” said Hlynur Gudjonsson, Consul and Trade Commissioner for North America at the Consulate General of Iceland in New York.
“The Iceland Ocean Cluster conference was very intriguing and gave the viewer an unexpectedly different understanding on how deep and wide we have taken this level of fishermen expertise from fishing to fisheries management, high end processing technology, to industry financing through consumer product development and bio technology.”
The following is a summary of major points in the report:
- Established Ocean Industries represent over 90% of the turnover in the Cluster. These are three main sectors: fisheries and fish processing, seafood marketing and distribution, and shipping and maritime transport — with an estimated turnover of over USD 4 billion.
- Emerging Ocean Industries represent less than 10% of the turnover. These are ocean tourism, ocean biotechnology, high technology for fishing and fish processing, and aquaculture. According to global market forecasts these industries have high potential to increase their share in the total turnover of the Iceland Ocean Cluster.
- Over 25,000 people are directly and indirectly employed in the Iceland Ocean Cluster.
- Fisheries and fish processing, seafood marketing and distribution, and shipping and maritime transport are leading industries in the Iceland Ocean Cluster.
- Aquaculture is increasing in Iceland and it is estimated that aquaculture will expand fivefold in volume in the next 5 to 7 years.
- In the Iceland Ocean Cluster, 70 high tech firms were identified which all provide the global seafood and fisheries market with various technology, from small firms with niche products to the some of the largest firms in the global industry, such as Marel and Hampiðjan.
- Various Icelandic services in ocean-related affairs have shown an increasing global expansion. These include financial services and engineering, and general consulting. This is another area of the Cluster which may expand in the years to come.
The Iceland Ocean Cluster is centered within The Institute of Business Research at the University of Iceland. The project is led by Thor Sigfusson, former chairman of the Iceland Employers Association. Twelve key firms in ocean-related business are the core sponsors of the project including the largest fisheries firms, high tech firms, shipping, and trading. The major sponsors areÍslandsbanki, Eyrir Invest, 3X, Brim Seafood, Eimskip, Samskip, TM, Marel, Síldarvinnslan andIcelandair Cargo.
For more information on the Ocean Cluster, log onto: www.sjavarklasinn.is
For a map of the Ocean Cluster:
For an image of Chef Sveinn Kjartansson’s presentation on the History of the Modern Cod log onto: http://www.islandsbanki.is/servlet/file/store156/item104372/svenni.jpg
To learn more about Iceland’s Responsible Fisheries, log onto: www.responsiblefisheries.is