Iceland to set out new aquaculture strategy

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Iceland’s Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir says she wants to see a more open discussion about the future direction of the country’s aquaculture, fishing and food sectors.

She recently submitted a draft document on how she thinks the country should move forward.

The Minister said: “It is time to set a new tone and apply a new approach to fisheries policy. It is my belief that with a democratic and transparent approach, we can bring about real reforms that will increase social harmony.”

She plans to submit a parliamentary resolution designed to lay the foundation for a sustainable policy in all three areas.

Aquaculture is now one of the fastest growing industries in Iceland, with applications for new fish farms, mainly salmon related, being submitted almost weekly.

However, there is also resistance to this expansion on the part of some groups, notably sports fishing organisations.

On fish farming Minister Svavarsdóttir said she plans to set up a comprehensive policy on how the sector should be structured in the future.

She said there would be a strong emphasis on creating new jobs  but the government would also ensure  the policy was built on  science-based sustainability and the protection of wild salmon stocks. Aquaculture policymaking would be divided into a number of separate tasks, she stressed.

She has also asked Iceland’s National Audit Office to carry out an administrative audit of the various issues within aquaculture.

“The environment needs to be shaped where value creation is  in harmony with society and with the environment,” the Minister added.

Iceland’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries said it hopes a  new long term policy on aquaculture should be ready for discussion by Spring next year.

Svavarsdóttir also said the country’s future fishing policy should also be based on sustainability and working in harmony with the environment.

Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir

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