Enska útgáfan af bréfinu til ráðherra 14-2-2014

Samtök eigenda sjávarjarða 
(Association of Coastal Property Owners) 
PO Box 90, 
780 Hornafjördur, 

Mr. Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Minister of Fisheries,
Ministry of fisheries,
Skúlagötu 4, 101 Reykjavík.

Hornafjördur, Iceland 11th February 2014.

I refer to my letter to you dated, 7th January 2014.

It has been reported in the media that recent negotiations have been conducted on the mackerel stock and the mackerel fisheries in the North Atlantic between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

It has been informed by the media that those who have taken part in these negotiations, on behalf of Iceland , are at least two persons, Mr. Sigurgeir Thorgeirsson , Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries , titled in the news as chairman of Icelandic committee and Mr. Kolbeinn Árnason, Director of the National Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners. More is not known. Kolbeinn seems to be involved in these negotiations only on behalf of those who use the resource but not on behalf of the owners. It is not known on what grounds he is allowed to come to these talks.

As has been explained to the Minister of Fisheries , the Icelandic government is not the only owner of all the marine resource in Iceland and has no right to dispose of the entire resource. Owners of coastal properties are also parties involved and a owner and may in this connection refer to the Icelandic law and the opinion of the European Court of Human Rights , which states :

3 The Courts ‘s assessment :
     “Moreover, the Court finds that the applicant´s right to engage in fishing in the net zone adjacent to the coastal property in question constituted a “possession” within the meaning of Article 1 of protocol No. 1”.

This opinion is based on the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights , but Iceland has ratified and signed the treaty . Reference is made to it by Eiríkur Tómasson , professor of law at the University of Iceland (now judge of the Supreme Court) on 7 Committee meeting (according to the minutes) for a review of the Law of fisheries management, 19 February 2010:

“Chairman, member of parliament Guðbjartur Hannesson, asks how long-term property rights have been defined and whether ideas from other resource legislation are carried forward in respect to fisheries legislation rights of use . It was stated that the owners of coastal property have rights at stake. E.T. said net zone created property rights, but the state can still impose conditions on fishing within them. If this right would be recalled to the state it would have to pay compensation.
It discussed how difficult it is to define the property and use , especially taking into account the employment law that may arise from the ownership or right of use”.

Further reference is made to the definition of property rights experts, including Gaukur Jörundsson former judge at the European Court of Human Rights , which states that the water (sea) that is above a private land is classified as private property and the sea in the net zone property on the respective ground.

The most fertile part of the sea is in the net zone and the living resources, together with the sea itself, move without obstruction in and out of the net zone and the outer region which is under the control of the state.

The above two parties, Sigurgeir and Kolbeinn, have neither full mandate nor permission to discuss the entire fishing rights of mackerel stock in marine resource around Iceland. They are not in any way representing the coastal property owners. Of complete irresponsibility is the case that they are in unelected discussions and making decisions in meetings with foreign bodies in the interests of the marine resource around Iceland without property owners as bystanders .

Mackerel passes between the outer zone in Icelandic waters and the privately owned net zone. The mackerel is named straddling stock (migratory stock). Similarly goes mackerel between the economic zone of the European Union, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland. On that ground Iceland bases its claim for a share in the stock.

Owners of coastal properties are herewith putting forward the request to the Icelandic Minister of Fisheries , that he sees to discussion will be left out until the correct and legal entities have been assigned to them.

Yours sincerely,
On behalf of the Icelandic Association of Coastal Property Owners,

Ómar Antonsson, Chairman.



  1. Advertisement 3rd October 2003, explaining property rights.
  2. Letter, dated 7th November 2002 to Dr. Franz Fischler,

Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries.

Google translated copy from the Icelandic, sent to:

  • Mr. John Spencer, Adviser, at the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE). EU’s negotiator on mackerel. E-mail: edward-john.spencer@ec.europa.eu
  • Mrs. Elisabeth Aspaker, Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, PO Box 8118 Dep., N 0032, Oslo, Norge. E-mail: postmottak@nfd.dep.no
  • Mr. Jacob Vestergaard, Fareo Islands´ Minister of Fisheries. E-mail: fisk@fisk.fo
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