Dismay as Norwegian fisheries minister moved to new job Published: 02 October, 2009
HELGA Pedersen, the tough no-nonsense Norwegian minister of fisheries has been given a new job in the Oslo government which was re-elected earlier this week.
She is to step down from the post to take over as the new Leader of the Oslo parliament. Her successor may not be appointed for a week or two.
Many people in fishing throughout the UK and Europe, especially those with strong sustainability instincts, will be dismayed by the move even though it could be her the path to greater things in politics. The 36-year-old former teacher has been minister of fisheries and coastal affairs for four years.
Just a few weeks ago Ms Pedersen signed a memorandum of understanding on aquaculture with the Scottish government, in a move aimed at strengthening co-operation and development on this this growing sector of the seafood industry. It also included links on sustainability and research and development.
But it is issues on illegal and discards that she has taken the toughest stand. Ms Pedersen, along with Norwegian fishermen, regards discards as one of the worst things to have happened to Europe’s fishing industry and is ceratinly a major reason why Norway has steadfastly refused to join the EU, although there are signs that resistence is weakening now that Europe has decided to drastically reform its fishing policy.
Earlier this year, Norway and the EU concluded a bilateral agreement for 2009 when they agreed on a number of measures directed at the reduction of discard, or dumping of undersized fish.