Matis collaborates with the other Nordic countries in various ways; through individual projects involving other research companies, institutions and production companies, and in many cases, in projects where Matis leads Icelandic institutions and companies into such Scandinavian projects.
Several of these projects are within the fishing industry, a primary industry in Iceland. The fishing industry in the other Nordic countries is in many ways similar to the Icelandic one, and some of the fish stocks in the Northern seas are straddling or migratory, meaning that such fish stocks belong to more than one national jurisdiction.
Sigurjón Arason, Chief Engineer at Matis, sits on two working committees which establish the parameters for marine research and collaboration within the Nordic countries and belong to the Nordic Council of Ministers. They are; the Committee of Senior Officials EK-FJLS which forms the policy of the Nordic Council of Ministers in fisheries and fish aquaculture, and the so-called AG-FISK field of work which supervises these projects and provides grants to various projects of the Committee of Senior Officials.
Sigurjón states that this Nordic collaboration is highly important. It is valuable for Iceland as a fisheries nation, and also in order to share Iceland’s experience and knowledge with other nations. “These Nordic
projects are varied, from the utilization of marine resources to developments in fish processing and technique. The goal of such projects is of course first and foremost to improve the finished product and increase the value of seafood, thereby improving the marketing position. But also, we have cases that pertain to political dilemmas such as the communal utilization of fish stocks. The solution for such cases often lies in dialogue and collaboration with scientists,” says Sigurjón.
Although Icelandic fisheries have many things in common with the Norwegian and Faeroese fisheries, Sigurjón says it is highly important to also benefit from the experience of other Nordic countries in the field, such as Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, who are all EU members and a part of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. “This benefits us all; the research company Matis, as well as other Icelandic companies and institutions, and Iceland itself as a dynamic fisheries nation,” says Sigurjón.