Iceland Mag

2 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Icelandic fishermen agree: The sea makes you happy

By Staff

  • Fishermen in the Westmann Islands Despite long hours and dangerous work Icelandic fishermen are overwhelmingly happy at work. Photo/Haraldur Jónasson

A newly released poll conducted by Gallup for the Icelandic Transportation Authority the overwhelming majority of Icelandic fishermen say they are happy while at work.

Older sailors and captains tend to be happier at sea
The poll revealed that Icelandic fishermen are generally very pleased with their work, with 86.4% saying they were either very (51.5%) or rather pleased with their work, with only 3.6% saying they were either somewhat or very unhappy. 78.7% said they were very pleased with having chosen fishing as their occupation, with 6.1% expressing regret.

Captains and chief mates tended to be happiest about their work, as were older sailors (55+), who were 50% more likely than the younger fishermen (18-34%) to be very happy at sea, suggesting that either the sea grows on you, or that only those who really love the sea remain in the profession.

Icelanders have historically been fishermen
Fishing is an important profession in Iceland. According to Statistics Iceland 4,400 people, or 2.5% of the workforce, works full time as fishermen. Remarkably the number of full time sailors has not changed much since the turn of the century 1900. In 1902 some 4,000 man years were worked at sea. At the same time, however, the catch has increased dramatically, as has the population of Iceland. In 1900 23% of Icelandic men 15-64 years of age worked as fishermen.

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