Ávarp Jóns Bjarnasonar,
sjávarútvegs- og landbúnaðarráðherra,
flutt 27. ágúst á ráðstefnu í fiskihagfræði á formennskuári Íslands í
Norrænu ráðherranefndinni 2009, um skilvirka fiskveiðistjórnun.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers, I would like to welcome you to this conference on “Efficient fisheries management.”
Globally there are several problems facing fisheries managers. These include decreasing catches, over harvested fish stocks and low economic rent.
In many countries fisheries are highly subsidized while at the same governments are trying to decrease fishing effort to preserve fish stocks.
For Iceland efficient management of fisheries is not just a worthy goal to strive towards - but a basic economic necessity.
We have been painfully reminded of this in the economic crisis that has shaken the Icelandic economy in the past months.
In the 20th century, especially after the nation gained control of its fishing grounds the fisheries were the driving of economic development in Iceland. A development which put Icelanders among the most prosperous nations in the world.
The fisheries still are – or should I say again are? – One of the backbones of the economy. Icelandic fish products amount to around 40% of exports of goods – and around 7% of gross domestic product.
This means that unsustainable management of fisheries is simply not an option; small mistakes can easily become large in economic terms for the nation.
Sustainable fisheries management needs to address several factors, ecological, economical and social. Complex interaction of ecosystems and economical systems as well as the delicate balancing act between conflicting interest and goals is not and never will be an easy task – fisheries management is an ongoing job in a complex and ever-changing environment.
There is a need to take a “holistic” view to fisheries management and forward an ecosystem based approach, one that takes into account all these complex factors.
In this conference we will have the opportunity to hear speakers from around the world address some of the pressing problems of fisheries management and how these lessons can be applied to the task of sustainable and rational resource management.
This is not least important for Iceland, since the Icelandic government has announced its intention to re-evaluate the Icelandic fisheries management system. Bearing in mind the economic importance of the sector and that it took the nation the best part of the 20th century to gain full control over its fisheries resources this is a task that is not taken lightly.
I would therefore like to thank our guest, not least our foreign speakers for accepting to participate in this conference and hope for a fruitful two days of dialogue.