A fisheries company owned by the wife of Progressive Party MP Páll Jóhann Pálsson will receive mackerel quota worth ISK 50 million (USD 367,000, EUR 339,000) if a new bill by Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson will be passed.
Páll is on the Alþingi parliament’s Industrial Affairs Committee, which was responsible for handling the bill. However, Páll doesn’t find that he should have abstained from discussing that the bill because of the connection with his wife’s company.
“No, I don’t consider myself to be unfit [to handle theis issue]. I believe that I have such extensive knowledge of fisheries that I can discuss the issue in parliament,” Páll told Vísir.
The bill assumes that 5 percent of the total mackerel catch will be issued to vessels using longlines and handlines. It also states that the catch of the boats which were fishing for mackerel in 2009-2012 will have added weight by 43 percent. The total catch of mackerel for small boats will likely be 7,500 tons.
According to the terms of the bill, the boat Fjóla GK, which is owned by Davíð Freyr Jónsson, who is on the Progressive Party’s fisheries committee, will receive a 350-ton mackerel quota worth more than ISK 200 million.
The bill has been criticized by Örn Pálsson, managing director of the National Association of Small Boat Owners (LS), among others. “We don’t believe there is reason to bind small boats by quotas. It would have been better to make the fishing free up to a certain point and give everyone a chance.”