The National Association of Small Boat Owners has critiqued the resumption of zoning, reports RÚV.
The critique comes in light of the Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir’s recent decision to raise the cod quota for coastal fishermen.
Although the decision has been praised as a victory for small fishermen and rural communities, many fear it is not enough. Additionally, Svandís has announced her intention to introduce legislation this Fall that would reinstate the zoning system.
Under the current system, the coastal fishing quota is spread across the entire country. Because of the seasonal migrations of coastal fish stocks, fishermen in certain parts of Iceland can begin fishing earlier, leaving less valuable fish for other communities. The Northeast of Iceland has been especially affected, with some fishermen even having to change residence to have access to the more valuable fishing grounds.
The regional zoning system was originally in effect from 2009 to 2017. Örn Pálsson, president of the National Association of Small Boat Owners, says that the current system, which guarantees 12 days of fishing for every boat, has proven to be safer. In his opinion, Svandís’ proposed legislation would represent a step backwards.
Svandís, however, has stated that the current quota system has failed to help precisely those whom it was meant to serve: small fishermen and rural communities.