Iceland finally publishes fishing reform proposals –

Iceland finally publishes fishing reform proposals Published:  11 May, 2011

RADICAL plans to reform Iceland’s fishing quota system were finally published yesterday. The Reykjavik Government believes the proposals could bring its exchequer up to an extra £28-million (around five billion kroners) a year – a considerable sum for a country with a population of just over 320,000 people. Around a third of this total would be ploughed back into the fishing industry or spent on projects in rural areas.

The reforms will mean that the open and free permanent transfer of quotas between fishing companies will be ended. Trawler owning companies will have to pay more money up front  for the privilege of using the fishing grounds. Fishing licences or leases, as they are sometimes called, will be for periods of up to 15 years, but renewals will be allowed before licences expire..As mentioned on earlier this week, the measures are not popular with the fish catching industry as companies will receive little in the way of compensation. There is certain to be major public and political debate before the proposals become law,  if the current government manages to survive. There are also doubts that there is a majority of MPs in the Icelandic Parliament in favour of the reforms as they stand.Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir she realised it was a major and difficult issue for the country with many opposing views, but she was satisfied that the government was on the right course.The value of the fish catches by Icelandic vessels  increased by 13.7 per cent  to 131 billion kroners (£507 million)  last year mainly  due to a sharp increase in fish prices.