Cold-water prawns

Pandalus spp.

Many shrimp (or prawn) species are found aound Iceland, but only one is fished, the northern prawn (Pandalus borealis). However, its smaller cousin, the Aesop prawn (Pandalus montagui) seen here is sometimes a by-catch. The Aesop prawn is more common in the shallows, while the larger northern prawn is often at more depth.

Cold-water prawns are special in that they are bisexual. Though not both at the same time. They are male in the first years of life but then change into females as they mature. It varies between areas when this happens, but usually in the age of 3 to 5 years. They eat a variety of small animals at or near the bottom and they also eat carcasses.

Shrimp fisheries began on a small scale in Ísafjörður in 1939, but large scale fisheries at the same location in 1955. Catch increased substantially when offshore shrimp fishing began north of Iceland in 1975 but then collapsed later. The reasons for this are mostly cod. There has been a lot of cod on the shrimp grounds and they eat the shrimp and keeps the stock down.


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