Salmon farming cages. (Photo: Stock File)
New law allows provisional fish farming licences
Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 22:50 (GMT + 9)
The Icelandic parliament passed a law giving the Minister of Fisheries authority to grant provisional licenses for fish farming that would allow companies to temporarily have a licence until they comply to the necessary conditions to be able to have a permanent licence.
As reported by RÚV, the bill had been proposed by the Minister and the Employment Advisory Committee meeting on the matter preceding the vote.
Members of of Parliament took this decision after the operational licenses of salmon farming companies Arctic Sea Farm and Fjarðarlax for a combined 17,500 tonnes of fish in open-net farms in the Westfjords were revoked by the Environmental and Natural Resources Board of Appeal.
While several ministers within the government expressed their concern over the matter which involves massive job losses, conservationists say that the salmon farms will cause great harm to the environment with salmon escaping to Iceland's rivers, pollution around the salmon pens and rise of infectious diseases and lice infestation.
After Tuesday's voting session, Minister of Fisheries Kristján Þór Júlíusson said at the final vote that he was grateful for the parliament’s quick response on the urgent issue, which he said “had reached a dead end.”
“With the procedure that parliament applied it has been opened and it is no longer a bottleneck, rather an open street which gives us the opportunity to continue to build up in Iceland on the basis of transparent and good governance,” the minister pointed out.
MPs who voted for the bill cited their support for fragile Westfjords communities, since they consider that with this bill the message is being sent that aquaculture in Iceland will continue to be developed.
For his part, Independence Party MP Teitur Björn Einarsson stressed that the government was prioritising “people, their welfare, and opportunities for self-reliance.”
On the other hand, Social Democratic Alliance MP Guðmundur Andri Thorsson abstained from the vote, expressing dissatisfaction with the handling of the issue and the type of intervention that the legislation entails. “We owe it to Icelandic nature, ourselves, and the future to do our best, not least when it comes to projects that have a profound effect on our country,” he stated.
- Salmon farming licence revocation worrying to two coastal communities