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Sunday, October 17, 2021

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The Directorate of Fisheries' drone inspection is considered illegal but condemns discards

The chairman of the National Association of Small Boat Owners says it is very important to take good care of the nation’s resources and condemns illegal discards. However, he criticizes the Directorate of Fisheries’ drone surveillance and doubts that it is legal.

Elín Björg Ragnarsdóttir, director of fisheries control at the Directorate of Fisheries, says that after the drone began to be used systematically in fisheries control in January this year, there are a number of cases where it is investigated whether illegal dumping has taken place, multiplied between years. Among the things that have been seen is the illegal discarding of haddock and large cod.

Arthur Bogason, chairman of the National Association of Small Boat Owners, condemns the discarding but criticizes the way the inspection is carried out.

“We just encourage people not to do such things at all. We are walking around the nation’s common resource and it should be tidied up and this is not part of it. However, we criticize the way in which this drone control has been carried out. We do not think it is enough to put news in the newspapers that drone surveillance should be carried out in fisheries. For example, it would have seemed natural to me that the Directorate of Fisheries had announced that the Reykjanes area would be monitored before it began drone surveillance there during the year. We just want the law to be followed in this matter and we believe that it is not done with current working methods, “says Arthur.

Considers it illegal not to report in advance of inspections

Asked if the method of speeding police can not be compared as drivers do not know everything in advance where and when surveillance takes place, Arthur answers:

“This is very clear in law and if if the police are measuring speed without being visible then they are not complying with the law,” says Arthur.

Considers that there is a lack of control over discards on large fishing vessels

He considers it most appropriate to have a deterrent effect in advance with the control. He also believes that the Directorate of Fisheries has not observed non-discrimination in the inspection.

“One thing we have pointed out is that people wonder what the Directorate of Fisheries has many videos of large fishing vessels discarding. The small boat fleet catches about 16% of the demersal fish catch off Iceland, but all the videos they have are of small boats near the shores in good weather, How about now to do real monitoring 84% of the fleet ?, “asks Arthur.

Asked if he thinks there is more discard on large ships, Arthur answers.

“I think there are discards on a lot of ships, but we don’t know how much. It has not been possible to measure it, “he says.

Asked if it would not be possible to use drones for such surveillance so that it can be found out, Arthur says:

“Of course we do and we have non-discrimination with the surveillance. Let them know in the relevant areas that there will be surveillance, “says Arthur.

The National Union intends to send a request for drone control to the Directorate of Fisheries for personal protection.

It is our duty to monitor fishing

Elín Björg Ragnarsdóttir, director of the Directorate of Fisheries, says she knows this criticism.

“People find it awkward to watch them. But they must realize that this is a regulated activity and we must monitor it. We have also been encouraged to publish where we are going to fly, but we have been promoting the surveillance in many places, it has been advertised and is on the Directorate of Fisheries’ website. This device is like any other monitoring device. Then I point out that the drones are not being recorded until people see that catch is being thrown overboard. Then the recording is made first, “says Elín.

She says that the staff is training themselves to use the drones and the next step is to use them to monitor larger ships that are further out to sea.

“We are not far from land at the moment, but we aim to monitor larger ships. We need more training to do that, “says Elín.

The Data Protection Authority is investigating whether it should investigate the case

The Data Protection Authority announced on its website yesterday that it intends to investigate whether there is a reason to investigate drone control of the Directorate of Fisheries.

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