Háskóli Íslands

The fisheries management system

Helgi Áss GrétarssonAttorney and Ph.D. student Helgi Áss Grétarsson is doing research on the Icelandic fisheries management system, including whether a quota is property under the Icelandic Constitution, and whether the foundation of the quota system contravenes provisions of the Constitution regarding equality and the freedom to work. Helgi graduated with a Master's degree from the University of Iceland's Faculty of Law in 2004 and worked for the Association of Academics (Bandalag háskólamanna) before starting work at the Institute of Law.

Fish in the sea do not qualify as property value but form a whole resource that is limited. There is an ancient and established rule that everyone may engage in commercial fisheries, but in modern times such an arrangement can hardly stand because of people's ability to catch a great quantity of fish. Adopting a fisheries management system aimed at increasing the likelihood that the resource will be utilized sensibly and sustainably entails diverse social changes, over which it is normal for disputes to arise in a democratic society. Legal issues regarding property rights, equality and the freedom to work will therefore become urgent. It is important for such issues to be answered on solid premises based on all available tenable information.

The purpose of the research is to analyze the legal development of the Icelandic fisheries management system and shed light on constitutional issues on the basis of solid premises regarding the Icelandic fisheries management system as well as fisheries management systems of other states.

In 2008 Helgi Áss's treatise, "Réttarsaga fiskveiða frá landnámi til 1990" (Legal History of Fisheries from Settlement through 1990", was published in the 6th Edition of the Book Series of the Law Institute. In 2011 Helgi published Þjóðin og kvótinn: Um íslenska fiskveiðistjórnkerfið 1991–2010 og stjórnskipuleg álitaefni. Also published in the Book Series of the Law Institute 9th edition, 203 pages.


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