Conservation of the environment is a high priority for Iceland, a country that depends on natural resources and their sustainable management. Given the economy's high dependence on fisheries and exports of seafood, the sustainable harvesting of living marine resources is an economic as well as an environmental priority. A quota system in fisheries, limiting the total allowable catch at a level deemed sustainable by marine scientists, is showing signs of paying off.
On the global agenda, Iceland has been a strong voice in the fight against the pollution of the oceans. Icelandic waters are among the cleanest in the world. Iceland has taken an active role in international fora on the issue of peristant organic pollutants.
Although Iceland is famous for its unspoiled natural beauty, there are areas where care must be exercised. One of the most serious environmental problems in Iceland is the loss of vegetation by wind erosion. The Icelandic Soil Conservation Service has been fighting soil erosion since 1907 with considerable success. It currently aims at revegetating sites with a total area amounting to more than 2% of the country's land area. However, the fight to halt and reverse the erosion and desertification and to advance land reclamation, will remain one of Iceland's priorities in the environmental field in coming years and decades.
Nature conservation in general is of increasing concern. Iceland has some of the few remaining large wilderness areas in Europe, and their natural features are in many ways unique. Development pressures from tourism and energy production (hydroelectric and geothermal) on wilderness areas are increasing, which calls for improved planning to reconcile nature conservation and the continuing development of Iceland's abundant clean and renewable energy sources.