Icelandic fish stocks underwent privatisation in 1990, when existing fishing quotas were made fully transferable. The country’s system of individual transferable quotas has since been held up as a paragon of virtue for sustainable fisheries. This might be valid for ecological and most economic concerns, but for a truly sustainable fisheries management system the question of social impacts has to be addressed as well. This paper evaluates the performance of Icelandic fisheries management from a spatial and social point of view. The theoretical framing stems from the concepts of resilience and vulnerability. Through cluster and correlation analyses, different development trajectories of Icelandic fishing communities since 1990 are revealed. The results are presented on maps. Even though it is no longer the country’s largest economic sector, the livelihood of many small and remote settlements is strongly connected to the fisheries. Consolidation has taken place in the fisheries and rural-to-urban migration has continued. The majority of coastal communities can be classified as vulnerable, regarding the status of the local fishing industry in 2014. Regarding demographic development, the number of vulnerable communities was significantly higher in 2014 than it was at the early 1990s.

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