The Norwegian fleet has long felt itself to be at a disadvantage during the capelin fishery in Icelandic waters, and Norway’s Minister of Fisheries has again raised the issue with his counterpart in Iceland.
Unlike vessels under the Icelandic and other flags which can fish for capelin with trawl gear, those from Norway are restricted to purse seine gear only, along wth other restrictions, including the overall number of vessels active at any one time and areas where they can operate.
‘I received no signals that Norwegian fishermen will get better conditions this year, but negotiations are taking place in several forums,’ said Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Bjørnar Skjæran, following a discussion with Icelandic Minister of Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir.
‘I intend also initiate a bilateral dialogue with Iceland at the North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers Conference in May. I am keen to establish a better dialogue here. As close neighbours, we should be able to find good solutions.’
He commented that Norwegian fishermen feel there is discrimination at work here, although the Icelandic Minister indicated that there is no will on their part to change the regulations at present.
‘Norwegian capelin fishermen feel they are discriminated against in the Icelandic zone. This is something Norway has raised with Iceland several times. I had an open and pleasant conversation with my Icelandic colleague. I made it clear that Icelandic vessels are not discriminated against when fishing in the Norwegian zone.’