A bill proposing more oversight in the fishing industry, including drone surveillance of ports, has evoked strong reactions from opponents, RÚV reports.
Minister of Fisheries Kristján Þór Júlíusson put forth the bill, the purpose of which is to counteract the practice of discarding catch as well as weighing fraud. It covers all fishing ports, weighing license holders, and vessels engaged in commercial fishing.
The bill proposes camera surveillance in each port which would monitor the landing of catches as well as their transport and weighing. Camera surveillance would also be installed on all fishing vessels to monitor the fishing and processing of catches. The Directorate of Fisheries would also operate a fleet of remote-controlled aircraft to monitor all activities in the industry. Staff at the Directorate of Fisheries would have electronic access to the camera system.
The SA Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise published a statement opposing the bill titled “The All-Seeing Eye of the State?” It reads in part “there is no doubt that if these plans are implemented they will be a model for other supervisory authorities and within a few years Icelanders could be living in a surveillance society of an unprecedented kind which has until now only existed in novels and films.”
The Minister responded to the statement, saying he had “no intentions” of creating an all-seeing surveillance system as described by SA. “We are not making the Directorate of Fisheries control a drone army,” he stated. “This isn’t war.” Kristján Þór pointed out that camera surveillance is already practiced in the fishing industry, and criticised the confederation for not proposing alternative measures to address the existing shortcomings in oversight.