Codliver from Patreksfjörður (Iceland)

Facts & Figures

15-25 fishermen
Patreksfjörður, Iceland

“I’m happiest when I’m with my family!”

Cod fisher Thorsteinn Olafsson goes out to sea for an impressive 200 days a year. That dedication to his craft makes him appreciate the time spent with his family all the more: “It’s wonderful to see that my son is interested in fishing and loves it as much as I do. In fact, I hope that I can pass cod fishing on to the next generation, and he’ll carry on the family tradition.”

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A good catch

Since fishing is so vital to Iceland, it makes sense that all cod from the country is MSC-certified. The cod sold by Sea Tales is caught with longlines, or bottom longline rigs as they’re sometimes called. In this method, the fishers feed a long, thin length of line, fitted with branch lines with baited hooks, off the back of the boat. This rig will then be resting on the seabed, where the cod live. Once the entire line has been set out, the fishermen go back to the starting point to begin hauling up the cod again.

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Fishers in Iceland are required by law to land their entire catch. That means that if they capture any species other than cod, they have to bring those in too. On shore, all the different fish will be registered, and their numbers added to the total catches. It allows the authorities to work out exactly how many and which species have been fished, and how much more can be caught until the quotas are filled.

A tight fishing community in Patreksfjörður

In the far west of Iceland lies the tiny fishing village of Patreksfjörður, which is home to only 650 people. Fish is at the heart of this tight community, which depends on cod fishing for much of its livelihood. That’s why it’s so important to Thorsteinn and his crew that it’s done using sustainable methods.

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The rocky cliffs to the east of the village, Látrabjarg, host large colonies of razorbills, puffins, and other seabirds. It’s an area of truly awe-inspiring natural beauty, and thankfully both the government and the fishing community take great care to protect biodiversity, both on land and in the water!

The far west

Patreksfjörður is a small fishing village with 650 inhabitants. The cliffs east of the village, Látrabjarg, are known for its colonies of auks, puffins and other sea birds. A little further out is Bjargtangar, the most western point of Iceland and Europe.

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Cod liver

Icelandic cod has a reputation for being one of the very best in the world. It’s larger than average, and thanks to its varied diet the bright white flesh has a pleasantly firm texture. Cod is a common component of fish and chips, but because you can use practically the entire fish – a great example of nose-to-tail cooking – it’s an incredibly versatile ingredient in the kitchen. We recommend cod liver: a real delicacy!