An fish farm owned by SalMar's Icelandic subsidiary Arnarlax. Some farms in the country have 16-year licences and other have no limit. Photo: Arnarlax.

Iceland considers ending unlimited fish farm licences

The majority of the Icelandic Parliament’s Business Committee wants to change the Aquaculture Act so that all fish farm operating licences will have a limited lifespan, reports the country’s national broadcasting service, Ríkisútvarpið (RUV). 

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At the moment some salmon farms have unlimited operating licences, while others have licences that last 16 years.

A majority of committee members is proposing that all operating licences be for 16 years.

The committee received representatives from a number of companies, associations, institutions and ministries during discussions on the subject, during which the licensing discrepancy was pointed out.

Closed containment incentive

It was also argued that indefinite operating licences could be equated to indirect ownership of a common resource. 

The committee’s proposed amendments include a reduced tariff to create an incentive for fish farmers to engage in the more expensive closed containment production method to ensure that farmed fish do not escape into the wild. 

The bill stipulates that producers of infertile fish pay 10 SDRs (an international currency equivalent) annually, but those who use closed farm equipment pay 5 SDRs.

Read more details of the amendment proposals (in Icelandic) here.