An upcoming ban on the sale of halibut does not necessarily mean that it will no longer be available.
According to new fishing regulations outlined by the Ministry of Fishing and Agriculture, halibut stocks are approaching a critically low level. In response, the sale of halibut will be illegal after December 31 until such time as stocks of the fish rise to acceptable levels again.
However, a ban on the sale of something does not always mean it can no longer be bought. Halibut is a popular fish among Icelanders, and as the demand for it will remain after the ban, so will the supply – or so speculates a fishmonger Vísir spoke to.
Kristján Berg believes that where today, a fillet of the fish costs about 3,000 ISK, post-ban fillets could go for up to 10,000 ISK. As fishers who accidentally catch halibut are obliged to toss them back in the sea, he believes it is possible that some will attempt to meet the demand for halibut, although he is uncertain if many would pay 10,000 ISK for it.
When asked if he believes a black market for halibut could be created in Iceland, he responded with a smile, “Yes, it could be. Maybe the Hells Angels will run it.”