Northern Norwegian municipalities and counties are united in opposition to the fisheries minister’s change in quotas.
The Government proposes to abolish that the trawlers are obliged to offer the fish they catch to local industrial plants along the coast. Municipalities that are affected will get NOK 100 million in compensation. At the same time 20 percent of the cod quotas are redistributed to vessels in the coastal fleet.
The Shipping Companies applaud the proposal, whereas people along the coast of Northern Norway are dismayed. Now politicians in the north are doing their utmost to stop the proposal.
A united protest from Northern Norway
– The matter will be considered by Parliament in May. We are pressed for time, says County Councillor for Troms Cecilie Myrseth.
– Municipalities and counties have delivered identical submissions. This the Government has not taken into account. Now a united Northern Norway is mobilizing to change the proposal that Sandberg has promoted, says Myrseth.
NOK 100 million is petty cash-
Kari-Anne Opsal, who heads the fisheries policy committee in the Oslo Labour Party, is very critical of the content of the White Paper that the Minister of Fisheries has put forward.
100 million in compensation is petty cash (fjottpenger). It is hardly enough to build one kilometre of road, says Opsal.
She believes there are several alternatives to Sandberg’s solution to the problems relating to the local offering obligation.
– One could increase the financial compensation significantly. One can improve and plug the gaps in the present system. There is also a possibility that the ship-owners who do not wish to be bound by an offer leaves quotas behind on the quay of the communities that originally were allocated these. This enables the fishing quotas allocated to the coastal fleet. It would ensure that the resources create activity and income for local communities on the coast.
The fish belongs in north
– It is clearly stated in the message that several of the local industries will be closed down, and that centralization will be a consequence. This we can not accept. We believe that fish from the waters off northern Norway should create activity in the north, not in Sogn og Fjordane or in China, says Opsal.
– We must not forget the origin of these quotas. They were awarded to the vessels that were bound to supply the processing plants on the coast. To revoke this bond, so that ship-owners can choose whether they instead will send the fish frozen to China, is wrong. Should we liquidate arrangements it must be done so that the spirit of the Law on Oceanic Resources (havresursloven) is safeguarded: That fish will benefit the coastal population, says Opsal.
Source: nordlys.no / Norway Today