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We Are Still Here

A remote community in Iceland, fighting the system for survival.

Just a stone’s throw away from the Arctic Circle lies the remote Icelandic fishing village of Flateyri. Nestled inside the West Fjords, this quaint outpost is perched upon a narrow finger of land which juts out into Önundarfjörður, situated well within striking distance to the fertile fishing grounds that ultimately gave rise to this settlement.

The quota system, or the Fisheries Management Act, was implemented 1990 in Iceland to prevent the overharvesting of fish. The right to fish is attached to specific vessels which are free to either keep, rent out or transfer (sell) their quota to another party.

The transfer of quota can effectively eliminate the livelihood of a coastal community by depriving it of its right to fish. Big corporations based in various parts of Iceland have paid substantial amounts to acquire boats and thereby have bought and consolidated most of the quota from  small villages.

Today there are approximately 190 inhabitants whom call Flateyri home, a third of which are immigrants from Poland who have been moving to the village over the last several years. Without these new arrivals Flateyri would cease to exist, as most of the native population of working age has departed in search of either higher education or more job opportunities further afield.