http://fiskerforum.dk/en/news/b/sein...losures-lifted

Iceland’s Ministry of Fisheries has re-opened four areas off the north and east of the country that had been closed to seine netters since a previous government imposed restrictions in May 2010.

The Federation of Seine Netters had long protested against the closures, arguing that there had been no proper consultation with the industry, and that there is no other method of fishing that is as limited in terms of the kind of ground where it can be used, restricting seine netters to only a few suitable areas off the north of Iceland.

The closures had been extended in August until the end of October while a working group examined the circumstances of the closed areas, delivering their findings on 12th September.

The subsequent decision by fisheries minister Thorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir to not extend the closures after seven years – with the decision taken in the final days of an administration with will soon be out of office following the recent elections – is a controversial one.

While the Federation of Seine Netters has welcomed the findings of the working group that concluded there was no scientific basis for the closures, supporting their stance that the closures have contributed nothing to protecting the marine environment, the National Association of Small Boat Owners (NASBO) has criticised the decision and the Skagafjörður inshore fishermen have stated that the carpet has been pulled from under them.

NASBO states that the original closures were introduced after extensive examination and with the goodwill of the local authorities and fishermen, a situation they claim has not changed.

‘The position of NASBO towards seine netting remains unchanged. This is a method that should only be used for flatfish and not for roundfish in inshore areas,’ a statement from the association reads.

‘NASBO regrets the situation that has arisen and is of the opinion that by failing to act the minister has opened previously closed areas. The closures should have been extended to ensure an unchanged situation. We ask the minister to issue regulations that extend the closure of these areas for seine net fishing.’

Source: Various