Coastal Fishermen Disappointed, Angry with Minister’s Decision

Coastal fishermen are disappointed with the decision of the Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries not to increase this year’s cod quota. About 700 boats will likely be docked next week, with nearly two months left of the fishing season, RÚV reports.

Request denied

At the end of June, the National Association of Small Boat Owners formally requested that the Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries increase the coastal fishing quota by 4,000 tonnes of cod so that fishing could continue throughout the entirety of the season, which concludes at the end of August. (The coastal fishing season is four months.)

Örn Pálsson, the director of the association, told RÚV that the state of the cod stock was strong and that new measurements indicated that the total allowable catch could be significantly increased this year. “All fishermen agree that there has seldom been as much cod in the sea as there is this year,” Örn remarked.

Read More: Give a Man a Fish (The Coastal Fishing System)

Yesterday, Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir announced that there was no leeway to increase the coastal fishing quota. In a written response to the National Association of Small Boat Owners, the minister stated that the quota for the current fishing year had already been allocated, including the quota for coastal fishing, and that the ministry did not possess the legal authority to agree to the association’s request. In light of this, coastal fishermen will likely have to stop fishing by the middle of next week.

According to the law on coastal fishing, the Ministry must stop fishing when the total allowable catch for the season is reached.

Angry and disappointed

Patreksfjörður is the largest base for coastal fishing. In an interview with RÚV, Einar Helgason, the Chairman of Krókur, the association of small boat owners in Barðaströnd county, stated that fishermen in the area were “angry and disappointed.”

Einar maintained that the minister’s decision not to act to save the fishing season had come as a big shock: various ways had been suggested that would be able to increase the quota. Einar estimated that about 100 small boats set off for coastal fishing from the southern coast of the Westfjords. Given this, there was a lot at stake, with very few fishermen being able to turn to other kinds of fishing.

Expects fishermen to take action

Einar told RÚV that he expected coastal fishermen to take action and protest. “Yes, but I’m unwilling to go into the details. Unfortunately, in most people’s opinion, there is little that can be done to inspire a reaction from the minister. But we have to react.”

Einar added that he felt that Minister Svandís, and politicians, in general, had shown little support for coastal fishermen. “I’m just going to speak for myself: I have been very disappointed with the minister. She speaks as if she is our minister, the coastal-fishermen minister, which was how she described herself at the association’s annual meeting. But her actions reveal something entirely different.”

Shallower Quakes, Seismic Activity Similar to 2022 Eruption

Meradalir

New data shows that magma has accumulated at less than one kilometre below the surface in the area between the mountains Keilir and Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes peninsula. The flow of magma has been deemed “considerable.” These are strong signs that an eruption may be imminent, a natural hazards expert with the Icelandic MET Office told RÚV this morning.

Following a similar pattern to the previous eruption

The seismic activity in the area between the mountains Keilir and Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes peninsula continues to decrease. Lovísa Mjöll Guðmundsdóttir, a natural hazards expert at the Icelandic MET Office, told RÚV this morning that the activity was “very similar to the previous eruption last year.”

“The seismic activity continues to diminish, and the magma has accumulated at a depth of one kilometre. If the magma reaches the surface, we can expect it to happen in the next hours or days. We’re on our toes and monitoring all the available data carefully.”

Lovísa observed that the experts of the MET Office – who monitor data in real-time – had not detected further deformation in the landscape. The tremors continue to grow more shallow, despite the reduction in seismic activity.

“Yes, the earthquakes are growing more shallow. This is very similar to last year’s eruption when activity decreased in this manner. The earthquakes were occurring at a similar depth. So we may as well expect that this could happen in the near future.”

“And if an eruption were to happen, it would happen without much notice?” a reporter with RÚV inquired. “Yes, very little notice,” Lovísa replied. “So we’re continuing to monitor events closely to try to determine the location of the eruption.”

As noted by RÚV, about 6,500 earthquakes have been recorded since the earthquake swarm began on the Reykjanes Peninsula on Tuesday, with the largest earthquake measuring 4.8 in magnitude. The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has declared an uncertainty level. The flight colour code over Fagradalsfjall remains orange. Travellers are advised against visiting the area.

Readers can monitor activity near Fagradalsfjall via webcams here.

Deep North Episode 33: Give a Man a Fish

coastal fishing boat

It’s just after six in the morning and Guðmundur Geirdal is pouring his first cup of coffee. It’s spring, so the sun has already been up for a couple of hours but a light veiling of clouds means that there’s a fresh snap to the air. Down by the Arnarstapi harbour, the squeaky cries of the seabirds are loud enough to drown out the murmured chatting of the other fishermen preparing their boats for the day.

We take a look at the life of small-boat coastal fishermen in Iceland. Read the story here.

Icelandair’s Airbus Order Largest Transaction in Airline’s History

Keflavík airport Icelandair

Icelandair has signed an agreement with Airbus for the purchase of 13 A321XLR aircraft with purchase rights for additional 12 aircraft. The purchase is the largest in the company’s 86-year history. With the order, it is clear that the Airbus A321XLR aircraft will replace the airline’s Boeing 757-200 fleet.

Largest purchase in airline’s history

In April of this year, Icelandair and Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of 13 Airbus A321XLR aircraft with purchase rights for additional 12 aircraft. Yesterday, Icelandair announced that it had signed the aforementioned agreement. The purchase is the largest in the company’s 86-year history.

As noted by Flight Radar, the A321XLR is set to be certified in 2024, and the first aircraft delivered to Icelandair is expected to enter service in 2029. However, the company intends to have four A321LRs in operation before the summer of 2025, via a long-term lease through SMBC Aviation Capital Limited.

In an interview with RÚV, Bogi Nils Bogason, the CEO of Icelandair, was quoted as saying: “This is a very big contract and a major turning point for us. And the biggest contract that Icelandair has made in the company’s 86-year history.” While the purchase price is confidential, the transaction will, as noted by RÚV, likely run into hundreds of billions of ISK.

Asked how the company intended to finance the purchase, Bogi explained that Icelandair was a very sought-after entity by financiers, both by lessors and banks that are financing aircraft. “And we will use the financing that is most favourable at any given time,” Bogi added.

Set to replace Boeing 757-200 aircraft

Icelandair currently operates 17 Boeing 757-200 aircraft, which form the backbone of its fleet. Given the size of the airline’s investment in Airbus, it is clear that A321XLR is set to be a replacement product.

“Operators have been reluctant to let go of their ageing 757 fleets in recent years due to the lack of a replacement that could match its performance, range, and capacity,” Flight Radar notes. However, the new A321XLR aircraft offers three primary advantages (as noted by Flight Radar):

Range: “The A321XLR can fly around 800 nautical miles further than the 757-200.”

Capacity: “Icelandair’s 757-200 aircraft currently seat 184 passengers in two classes, whereas the A321XLR fitted with the ‘Airspace Cabin’ will typically seat around 220.”

Sustainability: “Though figures are not yet available for the A321XLR, the currently available A321LR represents up to a 19% CO2 saving per seat per kilometre compared to a Boeing 757-200 on a similar sector according to data from IBA NetZero.”

Switching aircraft manufacturers entails several challenges: “This is a challenge,” Bogi told RÚV. “But at the same time, this is a very exciting and fun project. All of our staff are happy and excited about it. This will, of course, require training for our flight crew, which will begin to do soon.”