Dr. Kristjan Thorarinsson is employed as Population Ecologist for the Icelandic fishing industry (since 1992). In this position, he provides scientific advice to Fisheries Iceland and has served as member of several fisheries management committees that report to the Icelandic Minister of Fisheries. He is also chair of the Fisheries Association of Iceland.
Dr. Thorarinsson served as Chair of a Nordic Technical Working Group on Fisheries Ecolabelling Criteria (2000) and also chaired two UN-FAO expert consultations developing Ecolabelling Guidelines for well managed fisheries (2003, 2008). He has been a member of the Icelandic delegation to many UN-FAO COFI meetings and various FAO Technical Consultations, as well as negotiations regarding fisheries resolutions of the UN General Assembly. He has also for many years served on Icelandic delegations to Regional Fisheries Management organisations (RFMOs) including NEAFC, NAFO and ICCAT as well as in Coastal State negotiations for fisheries management for straddling fish stocks and sharing of fishing oportunities.
Dr. Thorarinsson was chair of Iceland Responsible Fisheries Foundation Technical Committee 2008-2015 tasked with developing IRF certification standards. Dr. Thorarinsson has a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Iceland, a M.Sc. in Ecology from the Pennsylvania State University, and a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of California, Davis, USA specialising in population ecology.
Dr. Thorarinsson was a post-doctoral fellow with the Pennsylvania State University (1988-1989) where he taught the course on environmental science for non-science majors (summer 1988) and analysed data on the enviromental effects of a nuclear power plant. Dr. Thorarinsson also has experience from various research and management projects centered on environmental issues as well as lecturing on ecology and fisheries topics. Dr. Thorarinsson was a member of the Icelandic Science and Technology Policy Council in 2003-2006.
Certification of sustainable fisheries
Certification of seafood as coming from responsibly managed fisheries should always be based on sound and approved fisheries management principles. Internationally recognised standards used for certification of fisheries should thus be based on the relevant FAO documents approved by sovereign governments, mainly the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995) and FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries (2005/2009). Fisheries management is always the responsibility of the competent authorities – it is their task. Certification, however, entails, i.a., third party verification of government fisheries management performance which facilitates market access for seafood. It is therefore of vital importance that requirements in fisheries management standards for certification of sustainable fisheries be in accordance with internationally accepted principles in fisheries management in order to prevent chaos in markets as a result of diffuse and inconsistent requirements.