The paper describes how the Icelandic fleet increased from 1980 to 2005, as well as the number of fishermen employed in the various sections of the fleet.
All categories of the fleet have increased considerably in tonnage, while the number of fishermen has declined. At the same time the catch per man-year at sea has increased, rendering the Icelandic fisheries among the most efficient in the world in terms of catch and value per manpower.
The number of fatalities in the Icelandic fisheries has declined steadily in this period. In absolute numbers these accidents are most common on decked vessels under 45m, but when weighed against man-years, fishermen on open boats are in greatest danger of losing their lives. The most common cause of fatalities is foundering of the vessel, which may cause multiple fatalities, then is man-over-board, followed by drowning in harbour and miscellaneous accidents. The reduction in the number of fatal accidents at sea may have several reasons. Mandatory safety and survival training of all fishermen, improved working conditions at sea, better telecommunications, constant VMS surveillance and a 24hr availability of airborne rescue teams have all helped to reduce fatalities in the Icelandic fishing fleet from 1980 until 2005.
Dr Gudrun Pettursdottir, PhD
Director, Institute for Sustainable Development, University of Iceland,
and Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, University of Iceland
Tryggvi Hjoervar, MSc, Specialist Institute for Sustainable Development,
University of Iceland
Capt.Hilamar Snorrason, Director
Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre, Reykjavík Iceland
Address for correspondence:
Dr Gudrun Petursdottir, PhD
Institute for Sustainable Development, University of Iceland,
Sudurgata, Reykjavik 101, Iceland