Rebel fisherman ignores Icelandic fishing quota –

Rebel fisherman ignores Icelandic fishing quota Published:  12 August, 2008

A REBEL Icelandic fisherman faces the threat of prosecution after he openly defined the authorities over his country’s fishing quota laws.

Ásmundur Jóhannsson, from southwest Iceland, has been operating without a quota in protest over the present system, which he described as ‘the biggest crime’ in his country’s history.

According to the website Jóhannsson sailed into the Sandgerdi harbour yesterday with almost 800 kilos of cod, police were waiting for him at the pier. ‘They just asked me what my name was, asked for my social security number and how much I had caught,’ Jóhannsson told the newspaper Fréttabladid. Also waiting for Jóhannsson on the pier was Liberal Party MP Grétar Mar Jónsson, who helped the fisherman unload his catch.

The row escalated this weekend when the Icelandic Coast Guard boarded his vessel, the Juliana. After boarding, the authorities sailed his boat to shore and then sealed it up .

Jóhannsson has now been called in for questioning and the police investigative department will then decide whether charges will be pressed for fishing without quota. According to IcelandReview Jóhannsson claims that while he operated fishing vessels, quota was taken away from him. ‘In 1988 we had 186 tons left but had originally been allocated 1,150 tons. We had no political backing and the quota was simply stolen from us.’

In January, the United Nations Human Rights Committee determined that Iceland’s fishing quota system is unfair, recommending the government establish a fisheries control system that fulfils the conditions stipulated by international law.