Minister of Industries and Innovation Steingrímur J. Sigfússon submitted the long-awaited and much-debated bill on changes to the fisheries control system at Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, yesterday.
The bill was sent back to the ministry for further revision due to opposition from members of the minister’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats, Fréttablaðið reports.
Among amendments proposed in the bill is that in every new fishing season, the minister is to divide the total quota for exploitable fish stocks into two categories: on the one hand, catch intended for large fishing vessels and, on the other, for hook-and-line boats, coastal fishing boats and boats renting quota through a quota market.
The quota right of fishing vessel owners will be limited to 20 years, according to the bill.
If it is passed at the current parliamentary session, it is assumed that leasing of quota can result in ISK 2.3-2.7 billion (USD 18-21 million, EUR 13-16 million) in revenue for the state treasury next fishing season.
Steingrímur told RÚV yesterday that this is the last chance to bring the fisheries control issue to an end this term and that relatively widespread support for the bill has been established in all parties.
However, it is considered unlikely that discussions and voting on the bill can be completed in time for the next parliamentary election in April.
A bill on changes to the fisheries quota system has been discussed in parliament before, resulting in heated debates and protests among fishing vessel owners and fishermen.
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