The problem with how the Icelandic fishing policy is viewed overseas is that the issue is simplified and the public gets to hear about part of the policy but not the further ramifications of it, which include social issues as well.
Foreigners get to hear about the fact that
There are several main problems here. One concerns the nature of the quota system and how quotas are handed out. This is based on the average of three year’s fishing catches between 1980 and 1983, which means it’s hard for others to get into the system unless they buy or lease quotas from others. This is an inherently unfair system. As one MP has said,” If nothing is done about the quota system, fishing permits will concentrate in the hands of a very few families and companies, who can lease out quotas at the highest possible prices without having to do any work”.
One of the problems associated with the sale of quotas is that it can disrupt the local economy, as if a boat is sold with a quota to someone the other side of
Over 80% of Icelanders are against the quota system because it is unfair.
The other main problem is that because there is a quota on how many fish can be caught by each boat, boat owners want to bring back the biggest fish they can find as they are worth more, which means that small fish are discarded. Although throw-back is illegal, it is practised by most boats and the amount of fish discarded can be substantial, thus making a mockery of catch limits, quotas and the reasoning for managing fish stocks in the first place. Beluga believes that the merits of the fishing management system are undermined by throwback, which is difficult to control.
A group of biologists and leaders of various conservation organizations recently tried to get the UN to ban the use of bottom trawls as they destroy coral reefs and breeding grounds of fish. This is the most prevalent type of fishing gear used by Icelandic boats. The authorities have maintained that sensitive areas are not trawled and so there is no problem involved with this method in
Beluga considers it is vital to carry out further research on the detrimental effects of bottom trawls in Icelandic fishing grounds, in both coral areas and others, and applauds the Marine Research Institute’s move to ban fishing in coral areas. The