Fishermen in Iceland have been angered by government legislation that has almost trebled the cost of new fishing licenses. The fishing tariffs, which allow trawlers to work in Icelandic waters, will now be set at ISK 13 billion (EUR 84 million), although this will be evaluated a year after introduction.
The Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners (LIU) has criticised the change, even though another controversial decision on marine conservation zones and fishing controls has been temporarily postponed.
“The increase will have serious consequences for the individual companies and communities,” said the LIU in a statement. It added that the new tariffs are simply a form of taxation and will effectively wipe all profits out of the industry.
“No other industry has to meet similar income,” said the LIU. “Such taxation creates no value for the economy but also reduces the ability of companies to create value.”
Fisheries minister Steingrímur J Sigfússon, however, said the decision was a breakthrough and he is only disappointed that the fisheries control laws have not yet been approved.
Much of the political wrangling over Iceland’s fishing industry has to do with the country’s bid for membership of the EU. The 27-bloc union has been critical of Iceland’s decision to increase its fishing quotas and continue whaling.