Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir has appointed four working groups to analyse challenges and opportunities in Iceland’s fisheries sector and related sectors, as well as to assess the macroeconomic benefits of the existing fisheries management system. The four groups have the task of producing new legislation on fisheries management, possibly a complete overhaul of existing legislation that governs the sector, according to a government notice.
“With regards to the fishing industry, there is a deep feeling of injustice among the public,” Svandís wrote in a column in Morgunblaðið this week. “I think that feeling stems mainly from two things; the consolidation of quota and the feeling that the profits from the shared resource of the people are not divided fairly. The aim of this work is therefore efficient and sustainable utilisation of marine resources in harmony with the environment and society.”
The four groups have until the end of 2023 to complete their assignments, which Svandís stated will result in new comprehensive legislation on fisheries management or new legislation on marine resources. Other stated aims are projects in the fields of energy transition, innovation, and marine research, as well as transparency and mapping of ownership in the fisheries sector.
The fishing industry has profited greatly in recent years, sparking debate on whether quota fees or taxes in the industry are high enough to ensure its winnings are fairly distributed. Four companies hold 60% of all fishing quota in Iceland: Samherji, Brim, KS, and Ísfélagið.