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Iceland’s Fishing Minister: No Plans For “All-Seeing Eye” Within Government

Iceland’s Fishing Minister: No Plans For “All-Seeing Eye” Within Government

Andie Fontaine
Words by
Photos by
Sigtryggur Ari

Published August 16, 2018

A proposed drone surveillance plan for Iceland’s fishing fleet has provoked a strong response from the Confederation of Iceland Enterprise (SA), prompting Minister of Fisheries Kristján Þór Júlíusson to give some perspective on the idea.

A draft of a government bill would deploy a series of drones to oversee Iceland’s fishing vessels, RÚV reports, for the purpose of reducing dumping and cheating on fishing weights.

In response, SA managing director Halldór Benjamín Þorbergsson said in a radio interview yesterday that this drone system would mean that “Icelanders will have to prepare for a surveillance that has only been seen in novels and movies.”

Today, Kristján responded to these contentions in an effort to alleviate these concerns. He said that this bill is designed to respond to repeated concerns that have been raised by fishing authorities themselves, who have called for increased surveillance of their own industry.

“I can second what SA is saying, that this isn’t ideal,” Kristján acknowledged. “I have no plans on building up surveillance in such a way that a government institution becomes an all-seeing eye that’s being described. That is not my intention, far from it.”

Kristján believes the matter is being reacted to from an emotional standpoint, and that there are no plans for a “drone army” in Iceland.

The bill in question is still in draft form, meaning that there may be several revisions still before it hits the floor of parliament for a vote.


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