THE fishing industries of the world were coming under ever greater scrutiny, Iceland’s Fisheries Minister Mr Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, said in Grimsby last night.
The Minister was speaking at the opening of the Humber Seafood Summit in the port which is now in its fifth year and is attracting ever larger international audiences.
Mr Johannsson told the summit: “Every time I meet fish people from the North Atlantic I cannot avoid the notion that the nations living on its shores are forming an ever closer relationship. It is based on a common view of life, ancient kinship and trade as well as common interests. We live by the sea and are strongly linked to the sea.
“Yet things are not what they used to be. Making a living from the sea means intervention into the sensitive food webs that exist in the ocean.”
That cannot be avoided, he said. “With increased environmental awareness all around the world our sector – fisheries – has been subject to ever more scrutiny in terms of treating marine resources carefully, so as to minimise the harmful effects that fishing can have on the environment.
“All that is good news as long as the reasoning is sound.”
The Minister said he believed Iceland, along with most of the operators in the northern hemisphere, were generally doing a good job of accommodating environmental concerns in fishing operations. He said Iceland now had in place a binding ‘catch rule’ for the main fish stocks which greatly reduced the temptation to disregard caution and scientific advice.
He also said wild fish was fast becoming a minority item on the world’s fish table with aquaculture providing the bulk. Already in Britain more than 50 per cent of fish in retail came from aquaculture. “In my view we should be joining hands in finding niche markets – something special, something traditional and highly valued.”
Later the Minister and other guests enjoyed a spectacular feast of Grimsby seafood and locally produced other foods at the summit reception.