AS Iceland gears up for a major expansion of its fish farming sector, fisheries minister Kristján Þór Júlíusson has appointed a special consultation committee designed to advise the government on aquaculture issues.
Both the fish farming and conventional fishing sectors are well represented but the committee, set up through an act of parliament, is also composed of board members from local communities, the environment and the Marine Research Institute.
It is hoped the new group will also take some of the heat out of what has been an angry debate in the country over the past couple of years.
The main aquaculture industry is represented by Heiðrún Lind Marteinsdóttir from the Icelandic Fisheries Association (SFS), who played a key role in helping to settle the three-month long fishermen’s strike in February 2017.
Minister Þór Júlíusson said: ‘Underpinning the decision to set up an aquaculture consultation committee, the main idea lies in promoting the necessary consultation on the structure of the industry.
‘It is designed to give science, stakeholders and the government a common platform for exchanging views on the important growth that is already underway as well as being planned.
‘With this committee, we are also following our advice from our main neighbouring countries, which have come much further than Icelanders in building a powerful aquaculture industry.
‘One of the key factors will be to promote close cooperation among the government, the aquaculture companies and nature and science so we can work better together.
‘I hope this consultation committee will be an important step in achieving that aim.’