More calls for Iceland to scrap quota change bill –

More calls for Iceland to scrap quota change bill Published:  10 October, 2011

PRESSURE is growing on the Icelandic Government to take another look at its controversial plans to reform its country’s fishing quota structure.

Many organisations including the fishing vessel owners have been demanding that the Bill going before Iceland’s Parliament should be scrapped or, at the very least, for some of the proposals in the legislation to be redrawn.

The latest call comes from Arnar Sigurmundsson, head of the Federation of Icelandic Fish Processing Plants.  Representatives of the Association adopted a resolution on last week  that challenged the government to withdraw the quota  bill. They say the proposed legislation  will not only have a serious adverse impact on an efficient seafood  operation but will also add extra taxes and other financial burdens onto the industry.

There have even been calls among Icelandic MPs for major amendments before any legislation is finally passed. Among the more controversial proposals is a suggestion that trawler companies should be sold quota contracts for periods of 15 years ( with the possibility of an eight year extension). The Fisheries Minister Jon Bjarnason has said he is prepared to look at making certain improvements, but it is unlikely that the current government will drop the bill altogether.

The industry certainly has some powerful allies in its calling for the entire legislation to be scrapped. In the summer the OECD economic and development agency  warned against experimenting with the quota system; claiming that there is very little that can actually be done to improve parts of the system people feel to be the least fair.The country’s economic prospects were also improving says the OECD which predicted three per cent economic growth for Iceland amid growing consumer demand and lowering unemployment. Fishing was playing an important part in that improvement.