Fishing quota system criticized on National Day Skip to content

Fishing quota system criticized on National Day

Some prominent political figures criticized the fishing quota system in their speeches yesterday on Iceland’s National Day, calling for a change to save the fishing villages outside the capital region.

“Every person that is neither blind nor deaf must realize the quota system has failed,” said Einar Oddur Kristjánsson, an MP for the Independence Party (Sjálfstaedisflokkurinn), Morgunbladid reports. “We must be able, and it is our duty, to approach these things with an open mind. We have to be prepared to review everything from the beginning,” Kristjánsson said of the fishing quota system.

“Our plans to rebuild the fish stocks with a quota system as a tool to control fishing appear to have failed. The situation calls for a complete reorganization of the fishing control system if the Iceland Marine Research Institute is correct in its estimation,” the speaker of the Althingi parliament Sturla Bödvarsson said in Ísafjördur in the Westfjords.

The Marine Research Institute recently recommended a drastic cut in the cod fishing quota, down to 130,000 tons in the next fishing season – 63,000 tons fewer than this season, to save the cod stock.

Bödvarsson said the situation of the fishing industry in Iceland is so severe that if the appropriate actions are not taken, the small remote fishing villages will collapse.

Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde also mentioned the fishing quota system in his National Day speech. “I accept the criticism of the fishing quota system but people should not forget its advantages or the progress that has taken place within the fishing industry for the last two decades.”

“But we should also not forget that the quota system is not perfect, no more than other human creations, and I’m sure it can be improved in many ways,” Haarde added.

The policy declaration of the Independence Party-Social Democrat coalition government, which took effect May 24, includes a “special reviewing of the history of the fishing quota system for fishing control and its effect on urban development.”

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