A chorus of horns can be heard from Reykjavík harbour today, as many ship owners protest a tax increase on their fishing quotas.
Many in downtown Reykjavík today may have been wondering what the occasion was, as ship horns began sounding off at the harbour at around 8:00 this morning, and have been continuing on and off throughout the day. As Vísir reports, this is a protest made by ship owners against what they see as an unfair proposal, currently submitted to parliament, to increase the fees ship owners have to pay in order to send their vessels out to fish. The Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners has issued a statement protesting the situation:
“Because of the serious situation facing the Icelandic fishing industry should the bills concerning fisheries management now before the legislature become law, The Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners and its member organisations have agreed to ask their members not to send their vessels fishing after the fishermens‘ holiday. … We realise that stopping the fishing fleet will have consecuences [sic] for many parties associated with the fishing industry. We ask them all to respect this decision as it would be irresponsible not to respond to the serious situation that has been created. Our aim is to prevent the extensive damage that will result if the unchanged bills become law.”
There will be a protest at Austurvöllur, in front of parliament, at 16:00 today to bring the protests onto dry land. At the same time, another protest will be held against the ship owners themselves – the objection being that those who own the ships are being unreasonable by compelling their employees not to go out to sea, while at the same time demanding a review of the fishing quota system as a whole.