500 Icelandic trawlermen protest at fisheries reform bill – Fishupdate.com

500 Icelandic trawlermen protest at fisheries reform bill Published:  09 May, 2012

PLANS by the Icelandic Government to reform the country’s fishing quota management system are meeting with mounting opposition.

The latest group to oppose the proposals are the fishermen themselves of which more than 500 from several different companies have signed a protest letter to the Government. The bill is currently before the Icelandic Parliament.

The 537 fishermen who signed the petition have warned that the proposals would have “disastrous consequences” for this sector of the industry, adding tersely “our future is at stake”.

The plans are being fiercely opposed by the Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners Association (LIU) which faces paying a lot more money for its fishing quota licenses. But there is also criticism from outside the industry. The accounting firm Deloitte has warned more than two thirds of Iceland’s 75 fishing companies could face serious financial problems, perhaps even bankruptcy, if the bill succeeds.

Deloite says that proposals will impact negatively on all companies within the industry because of higher taxation and other factors such as short term quotas and legislation to prohibit the transfer of quotas. It will also lead to a reduction in competitiveness within the industry and encourage short term thinking which was not what fishing needed.

The report adds: “The Bill will have a negative domino effect on businesses in related industries and municipalities (fishing ports)  throughout the country, due to lower investment and lower employment. “

Earlier, Ragnar Arnason, a professor of fishing economics at the University of Iceland, warned that the bill in its present form would greatly weaken the Icelandic fishing industry and its competitiveness on international markets.