The Marine Research Institute

hafro logoThe Marine Research Institute (MRI), established in 1965, is a government institute under the auspices of the Ministry of Industries and Innovation. MRI conducts various marine research and provides the Ministry with scientific advice based on its research on marine resources and the environment. The institute runs two oceangoing research vessels and smaller fjord boats, five branch laboratories in towns around Iceland and a experimental mariculture station.

The three main areas of activities of the MRI are the following:
- to conduct research on the marine environment around Iceland and its living resources
- to provide advice to the government on catch levels and conservation measures
- to inform the government, the fishery sector and the public about the sea and its living resources.


Hafro skulagatanVessels, Branches and Mariculture Laboratories

MRI operates two research vessels and runs five branch laboratories located in Icelandic fishing communities in Akureyri, Höfn, Vestmannaeyjar, Ísafjörður and Ólafsvík. The Akureyri Branch runs in close collaboration with the faculty of Fisheries Science at the University of Akureyri.

The five branch laboratories provide important data on fisheries and carry out research in close contact with local fishing interests. The Marine Research Institute also runs a mariculture laboratory near Grindavík.


MRI in the Arctic

Research on environmental and ecological factors in the Arctic are a significant part of MRI’s tasks. The environmental conditions in and around Iceland are up to a great extant determined by the merging of cold sea-waters from the North with warmer currents from the South. Increased understanding of the interaction of these water-masses, have been the object of various international collaborative projects the MRI has been involved with in recent years. MRI has monitored environmental conditions, such as temperature, salinity, nutrients, primary production and zooplankton at number of fixed positions or stations on the Icelandic shelf. The data, collected for decades, has been widely used in research on the development in climate and ecology of the North Atlantic as elsewhere. 


Current Projects

Amongst a variety of MRI's cunnert projects, the institute has in recent years carried out extensive research on the biology and distribution of capelin in Icelandic Waters. The routine researches had not been able to collect the data necessary to answer urgent questions about changes in the abundance and distribution of capelin. The project has focused on the environment as on the capelin from larval to adult stage. These studies are a part of international research on the ecosystem of the Arctic (ESSA, Ecosystem Studies of Sub-Arctic Seas).


Hafro unuftpThe Fisheries Training Programme

The Marine Research Institute leads the work of The Fisheries Training Programme [FTP] of the United Nations University [UNU], established in 1998. Formal partners of UNU-FTP are in addition to the MRI, the University of Akureyri, Matis ltd and University of Iceland. The students are mostly professionals from various fields of fisheries in the developing countries.
UNU-FTP' website is available here.



MRI‘s website provides extensive information in Icelandic and English. Besides news, publications and facts on the agency’s marine research and consulting work, information can be found on the main commercial fish stocks in Icelandic waters as well as an overview of the history of marine and fisheries research aroundIceland.

The MRI’s website is


Examples on Published Material

The website of the MRI provides a collection of publications, both reports on researches as MRI’s promotional materials. Further information can be found here but below are a few examples of published reports form the institutions website. 

 - Analysing migrations of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua in the north-east Atlantic Ocean: then,now and the future. 

 - Abundance, composition, and development of zooplankton in the Subarctic Iceland Sea in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

 - Increasing levels of long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) in Arctic and North Atlantic marine mammals, 1984-2009. 


Hafro SigurborgJohannsdottir contactContact

Name: Sigurborg Jóhannsdóttir

Job title: Website Manager

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telephone: +354 575 2000




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