Ragnar Árnason, a professor in economics at the University of Iceland, said in response to the conclusion of the UN Human Rights Committee that the Icelandic fishing quota system is unfair, that revolutionizing it would be “economic suicide.”
“If we abolish the quota system we will lose tens of billions [ISK 10 billion = USD 159 million, EUR 107 million] every year which will also have a multiplicative effect throughout the economic system,” Árnason told Fréttabladid, adding that experts at financial companies believe that one of the prerequisites for the growth of the economic system and expansion of Icelandic companies abroad is namely the wealth that lies in the quota.
“If that wealth is impaired there will be a corresponding recession in the financial sector and the entire economic system. Those who want to abolish the system or revolutionize it must be economically suicidal,” Árnason concluded.
Minister of Fisheries Einar K. Gudfinnsson agrees. “We saw how much disturbances in society the cut in quota of one fish species caused, so one could ask what kind of reactions a complete change of the quota system would call for.”
“Every industry needs stability and ideas about revolutionizing the operating environment of the basic industry of this nation are unrealistic,” Gudfinnsson added.
MP for the Left Greens Atli Gíslason does, however, disagree. He said the quota system had been established to protect fish species and secure employment but had instead resulted in unnatural, distorted ownership of fishing rights.
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