Climate change impacting on fish stocks – Iceland President –

Climate change impacting on fish stocks – Iceland President Published:  12 May, 2014

Olafur Grimsson

THE president of Iceland, Mr Olafur Grimsson, has warned that the Arctic is fast acquiring a global significance which is having a profound effect on fish stocks.

He said the aggressive melting of the sea  ice was creating a new ocean, adding “for the first time in human history we are witnessing such a monumental transformation on planet Earth.”The President, who was delivering a keynote address at the recent Google Workshop Maritime Awareness conference at Googleplex  in California, said climate change was already causing large movements of fish stocks.“The recent mackerel dispute in the North Atlantic demonstrates how Arctic states and others now have to deal with migrating species in a new way.”Mr Grimsson said Iceland had already decided that  ocean resources and fisheries, marine management and other related issues will be among the key sessions at the Second Assembly of the Arctic Circle in Reykjavik  in the autumn. He also maintained that the Icelandic experience in managing the seas can be helpful to other nations both in protecting stocks through sustainable use and in producing profitable fisheries.This had been done through the country’s Marine Research Institute and a policy of protecting fish by giving each vessel its own individual quota which was transferable. He admitted it had been a controversial policy within the industry and can have a negative impact on some coastal fishing ports if vessels are moved away  along with their quotas, but the policy had also produced the best stock management of any European country.The quotas were based on scientific research and the country’s fishing policy was one reason why the country had managed to escape the ravages of the 2008 economic crisis so quickly.Concluding, the  President Grimsson  called for close  international co-operation in protecting the health of the oceans and their fish stocks.

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