Iceland’s minister of fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir has presented draft legislation concerning protection of vulnerable seabed areas from demersal fishing.
The proposals are based on a 2021 report by the Marine Research Institute, and extend to eighteen areas to be closed to demersal fisheries but remaining open to pelagic trawling and purse seining. The proposals extend to a total area covering around 2% of the Icelandic EEZ.
The report lays out the background and existing knowledge of the areas to be protected, setting out species that are found in vulnerable areas and requirements to meet the specifications that define these areas as vulnerable.
The proposals also include three new areas that have not previously been closed to demersal fishing but which are considered important to protect. Five areas closed to longline and demersal trawling are listed.
Those areas of Icelandic waters already subject to protection have been closed to fishing since 1971. Ten areas have previously been included in the regulation to protect corals, and those have been closed to fishing for around twenty years.