Iceland delays fish quota change plan –

Iceland delays fish quota change plan Published:  12 July, 2010

ICELAND has announced that it is delaying its controversial individual transferable quota recall plan for 12 months. The announcement, by Fisheries Minister Jon Bjarnnsson comes in the face of mounting criticism from within the fishing industry and from leading economists.

However, it is not thought that the delay is a sign of a change of heart by the government. It is thought to be a temporary measure because there simply not enough time to reconstruct the law on fishing management in the Althingi, Iceland’s Parliament, to incorporate  the many new ideas on the table.

The Government still has plans for fundamental changes to Iceland’s fishing industry even though it is one of the few  economic activities which was not tainted by the financial collapse last year. The Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners Association told Fishupdate that the new ideas now being proposed posed a serious threat to the Icelandic fishing industry.

Just a week ago Islandsbanki, one of the newly reconstructed banks in Iceland, warned the government that interfering with the fish quota system could threaten the banking system again and push some fishing companies into bankruptcy.

The Islandsbanki report  said some  banks  have heavy investments in the fishing sector and any further stress on the industry could result in a “significantly increased impact” on these banks. The report adds: “Iceland’s seafood industry is internationally competitive and successful, providing employment and important export income.”

In short the message to the new government from many sides is: “If it is not broke – don’t fix it.”