Veiðitölur

Þýðing úr íslensku - Translation from Icelandic:  Árni Ísaksson

 

This is an English translation of the Icelandic “Lög um lax- og silungsveiði nr. 61/2006“. In case of any discrepancies between the translation and the text in Icelandic the original text as enacted by the “Alþingi” and made available on its website prevails.

 

The Icelandic Salmonid Fisheries Act no 61/ 2006

 

A reference to a Minister in this Act without a specific reference to a jurisdiction pertains to the Minister of Industries and Innovation who is responsible for the execution of this Act.

 

Chapter I Aim and applicability

 

Article 1 Aim

The aim of this act is to define fishing rights in freshwater and promote sensible, efficient and sustainable harvest of freshwater fish stocks and their conservation.

 

Article 2 Applicability

The provisions of this Act apply to all fishing of freshwater stocks within the Icelandic economic zone unless otherwise defined in other acts.

 

Article 3 Definitions

The concepts in this Act as well as rules and regulations based on it are defined as follows:

 

Common waters of a lake: The part of a lake which is a common property of all estate owners but outside a 115 meter wide zone along the lake banks which is a private property of the respective owners.

 

Fishing waters: A fishable river or lake supporting sustainable fish populations or which could support such fishing if fish were planted.

 

Fixed netting engines: Netting equipment which is permanently fixed in a suitable location and designed to catch fish trough the use of a fence, gill nets, trap-nets and leaders.

 

Netting zone: A lake bottom out to 115 meters from the lake bank belonging to an estate and the sea-bottom out to 115 meters from the tidal zone of an estate during extreme low tide.

 

Public highland areas: Highland areas which are not privately owned although individuals or legal parties may have some limited property rights.

 

Salmonid(s): All species of fish within the salmon family (Salmonidae) such as salmon, brown trout and char.

 

Uplandpastures: A district away from inhabited areas where sheep have traditionally been grazed during the summer.

 

Article 4 Salmon and trout division

  • The execution of management and supervision pertaining to this Act shall be conducted by a specific branch within the Directorate of Fisheries called salmon and trout division. The Director of Fisheries employs a division manager, which shall have a pertinent university degree and is directly responsible to the Director of Fisheries.
  • In accordance with the provisions of specific articles of this Act the Minister can specify further provisions on their execution in a regulation.
  • Rules as specified in this Act pertain to local or temporary rules set by the Directorate of Fisheries on the basis of this Act or relevant ministerial regulations.
  • Prior to the enactment of rules or regulations based on this Act appropriate technical advice shall be requested from stakeholders including respective fisheries associations or owners of fishing rights.
  • All fisheries associations in accordance with the provisions in chapter VI of this Act shall have a federation, the Federation of Freshwater Fisheries Associations, which speaks for and protects their common interest.

 

Article 4a Fisheries inspectors

  • Upon the request of a fisheries association or legitimate owners of fishing rights where an association has not been formed, the Directorate of Fisheries appoints fisheries inspectors, where needed, provided that the petitioners pay the cost of the surveillance. Similarly the Directorate of Fisheries appoints inspectors concerning collection of spawners and egg taking activity provided that the spawn taker pays relevant costs.
  • It is right for the Directorate of Fisheries to appoint inspectors concerning illegal fishing of salmon in the sea with relevant costs paid through the government budget.
  • Inspectors shall carefully note whether salmonid fishing within their territory is conducted in a legal manner. They shall collect statistics and make records regarding netting equipment and sweeping sites and the marking of such equipment and sites. The Directorate of Fisheries gives further instructions on the conduct of inspection in a letter of assignment.
  • Fisheries inspectors shall, as needed, have an open access in and along rivers and lakes as well as in the coastal netting zone. They have the authority to remove and confiscate any illegal fishing gear or gear being used during illegal periods or in illegal places.

 

 

Chapter II On fishing rights 

 

Article 5 Fishing rights

  • Fishing rights in rivers and lakes on or adjacent to an estate belong to the estate owner unless otherwise specified by law.
  • In public highland areas the fishing rights are owned by the State with the limitations set by the fishing rights linked to highland pastures according to article 7.
  • In cases where estate is leased the fishing rights are utilized by the leaseholder unless otherwise agreed between the owner and leaseholder.
  • When adjoining estates with fishing rights are separated by a river or a lake only the estate owner can carry out fishing within his own property. Nevertheless estate owners are permitted to cross into other estates in order to prevent the loss of catch and damage to fishing gear. The trespassers must, however, exercise precaution to minimise any damage or disturbance to their neighbours and pay compensations if the need arises following an assessment according to chapter VII of this Act.
  • In the event that a river or a lake move to new channels or beds the fishing rights move to the estate owners of the new river or lake banks taking, however, into account the provisions in articles 7 and 8 of the Water Act no. 15/1923.

 

Article 6 Fishing right in the common waters of a lake

  • Estate owners on a lake are alone allowed to fish in common waters of the lake, including winter jigging through ice, their rights being equal. Should there be an ancient custom to the effect that fishing rights in the common waters of the lake pertain to a specified estate or estates, that custom shall continue to apply.

 

Article 7 Fishing rights in sheep pastures in public highland areas.

  • The farming estates with a right to graze sheep in highland pastures in the public highland areas have fishing rights in lakes and rivers in the highland pastures as has been the custom. As a rule a fisheries association has the responsibility to manage and lease the fishing in these lakes.

 

Article 8 Common property fishing rights

  • If an estate with fishing rights is a common undivided property of many individuals all the owners have an equal right to fish.
  • It is proper for anyone of the owners, who feels mishandled, to demand a proper allocation of fishing areas and periods to all the owners in accordance with their share in the property. In the event that an agreement can not be reached the matter shall be settled through an assessment according to chapter VII of this Act.

 

Article 9 Separation of fishing rights from an estate.

  • The partial or total dissociation of fishing rights from an estate is prohibited whether temporarily or in perpetuity. An exemption can, however, be granted by the Minister, having received a positive comment from the Directorate of Fisheries. On legal farms carrying out agriculture it shall be specifically taken into account when an exemption is being considered whether the separation of fishing rights from the estate may make the estate unsuitable for sustainable agriculture. Such a separation must furthermore not lead to an overharvest of the fish stocks in question.
  • In spite of the provisions in paragraph 1 the angling rights can be separated from an estate for a period up to 10 years.  Such a measure normally prohibits estate owners from utilizing other methods of fishing during the agreed period unless otherwise agreed.

 

Article 10 Redemption of fishing rights  

  • Fishing rights which have been separated from an estate prior to the enactment of this law, can be redeemed by the owners of the estates which legally would be entitled to fish in the respective fishing water. The redemption must be approved by the Minister after having consulted the Directorate of Fisheries, the respective fisheries association or the owners of the fishing rights if there is no functional fisheries association.
  • In the event that the redeemable fishing rights pertain to more than one estate the redemption must be approved by a minimum of 3/4  of the estates initially owning the fishing rights. If voting is carried out, it must follow the rules applied at fisheries association meetings according to chapter VI of this act.
  • In the event that redemption is sought only by a limited number of those having the right to redeem the fishing right, the current owner of the fishing rights can demand that those seeking redemption must also redeem the fishing rights of those not seeking redemption.
  • Any disagreement regarding the value of redeemed fishing rights shall be subject to an assessment according to chapter VII of this Act.
  • If redemption of fishing rights is not sought within 5 years of the enactment of this law the right to redemption is forfeited.

 

Article 11 On non-immunity of seals

·       In the event that a seal is observed in fishing waters or its estuarine areas it is proper according to this Act for the owners of the fishing rights to scare it off and shoot.

·       In the event that the utilization of seal rookeries and seal nets conflicts with the interests of salmon and trout fisheries, the Directorate of Fisheries can upon the request of a fisheries association or owners of fishing rights permit non-immunity of seal rookeries and elimination of seal nets in or near the respective fishing water. During the processing of such a request the Directorate shall consult the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries and the Icelandic Institute of Natural History.

·       If it is proven that the actions permitted by the Directorate of Fisheries according to paragraph 2 have negative financial consequences for the owners of seal rookeries they shall be compensated by the fishing right owners requesting the non-immunity. Compensations shall be decided through an assessment in accordance with chapter VII of this Act.

 

Chapter III Salmonid Management 

 

Article 12 Registration of fishing waters

·       The Directorate of Fisheries shall compile and keep a data bank on all fishing waters and owners of fishing rights.

·       During the design and assembly of a data bank according to paragraph 1 special attention shall be paid to its coordination with other official data banks on the characteristics and ownership of estates

·       It is right for all owners of fishing rights to submit any requested information deemed necessary for the completion of the data bank to the Directorate of Fisheries.

·       The Minister shall provide further provisions on the registration of fishing waters and the underlying information in a regulation.

 

Article 13 Fisheries statistics

  • All fishing right owners as well as any persons conducting netting or angling in fishing waters or in coastal netting zones are obliged to keep records of their catch and submit reports to the management authorities.
  • The Institute of Freshwater Fisheries collects fisheries and angling statistics in a standardised form which the Institute prepares and provides to stakeholders on the behalf of the Directorate of Fisheries. Fishing and angling statistics are considered public information and general information from these statistics shall be available to the public as well as to other research and advisory parties as decided by the Directorate of Fisheries.
  • Fisheries associations or owners of fishing rights, in the absence of a legal association, are responsible for the documentation of fishing and the submission of reports to the Directorate of Fisheries.
  • The Minister can prescribe further provisions on fisheries statistics in a regulation.

 

Article 14 Salmon fishing in the sea

·       It is prohibited to catch salmon in the sea. In the event of an incidental catch of salmon in any gear it shall be directly released into the sea.

 

Article 15 Fishing of migratory trout and char in the sea

·       The fishing of migratory trout and char in the sea is not permitted. Such fishing is, however, permitted by estate owners in the coastal netting zone and its execution is bound by the rules applying in freshwater as appropriate.

·       The number of nets being used for the netting of migratory trout and char in coastal netting zone is limited to the number of operational nets used by each coastal estate during the last 5 years prior to the enactment of the salmonid Fisheries Act no. 53/1957. The Directorate of Fisheries shall hold a registry on the fishing rights of these coastal estates and enforce these fisheries in accordance with this Act.

·       During the period from April 1 through October 1 it is not permitted to use nets or sweep nets in the sea closer to a river estuary than 1500 meters if the mean annual river discharge is less than 25 m3 per second. For rivers with a greater flow and rivers with migrating salmon this minimum distance is 2000 meters. During the same period nets or sweep nets are not permitted within 1500 meters of active salmon ranching sites.

·       Where angling is being conducted in the areas mentioned in paragraph 3 the owner of a coastal estate must consult the in-river fishing association or individual fishing right owners in the absence of a legal association as well as the owners of any ranching sites.

·       It is proper for the Directorate of Fisheries either of its own initiative or in response to a request from stake-holding fisheries associations or individual fishing right owners, in the absence of a legal association, to set rules which limit or ban in certain coastal areas and during a specified period any netting of migratory sea-trout and char provided that this is deemed necessary to ensure sustainable spawning migration to nearby rivers.

·       If restrictions according to paragraph 5 have proven to have negative financial consequences for the coastal estate owners, they shall be compensated by the stakeholders benefitting from the restriction. Compensations shall be decided through an assessment in accordance with chapter VII of this Act.

·       The Directorate of Fisheries sets further rules on the execution of sea-trout and char netting in coastal areas.

 

Article 16 Limitations regarding the fishing of marine species

·       Having acquired a permission from the Fisheries Ministry the Directorate of Fisheries can of its own initiative or in response to a request from fishing associations or individual fishing right owners restrict or ban the fishing of marine species in the vicinity of river estuaries, if such harvest is deemed to have negative effects on fish migration into the river or if such actions are deemed necessary to protect the in-river fish stocks. The Institute of Freshwater Fisheries is to be consulted prior to the enactment of such restrictions.

·       If restrictions according to paragraph 1 have proven to have negative financial consequences for specific coastal estate owners, they shall be compensated by the stakeholders benefitting from the restriction. Compensations shall be decided through an assessment in accordance with chapter VII of this Act.

 

Article 17 Fishing period for salmon

·       Salmon fishing is permitted annually for only 105 days from May 20th through September 30th. After consulting the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries it is proper for the Directorate of Fisheries to extend the salmon fishing period to 120 days or to October 31st in fishing waters where angling is being maintained through smolt releases. It is also proper for the Directorate after consulting the Institute to extend the salmon fishing period specified in this paragraph by 15 days in angling rivers where the fishery is based on catch and release.

·       During the salmon fishing period specified in paragraph 1 no salmon fishing shall take place for 84 hours per week i.e. for half the week. Salmon net fishing is banned from 22: 00 on Friday evening until 10:00 on Tuesday morning.

·       Any salmon being caught from April 1 until legal salmon fishing period commences according to paragraph 1 must be released.

·       Fisheries associations or owners of fishing rights, in the absence of a legal association, shall set up a plan regarding angling periods as well as any restrictions of gear or bait in their fishing waters. Such an exploitation plan shall be approved by the Directorate of Fisheries after consultation with the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries. If fisheries associations or respective owners of fishing rights neglect to submit such a plan it is right for the Directorate of Fisheries of its own initiative to set such rules.

·       Rules according to paragraph 4 can e.g. specify the following:

a) Number of fishing days according to paragraph 1.

b) Restrictions in the use of specified fishing gear during certain periods.

c) Specification of daily fishing periods.

d) Specification of fishing beats and their borders.

 

Article 18 Fishing periods for migratory trout and char

·       Fishing for migratory trout and char is permitted annually from April 1 through October 10th, but in rivers where salmon dominate the catch the angling period must finish by September 30th. It is, however, proper for the Directorate of Fisheries after consulting the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries to extend the angling period beyond the above date in rivers where such fisheries have been conducted.

·       During the fishing period specified in paragraph 1 no trout or char fishing shall take place for 84 hours per week i.e. for half the week. Net fishing for migratory trout and char is banned from 22: 00 on Friday evening until 10:00 on Tuesday morning.

·       Fisheries associations or owners of fishing rights, in the absence of a legal association, shall set up a plan regarding trout and char angling periods as well as any restrictions of gear or bait in their fishing waters. Such an exploitation plan shall be approved by the Directorate of Fisheries after consultation with the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries. If fisheries associations or respective owners of fishing rights neglect to submit such a plan it is right for the Directorate of Fisheries of its own initiative to set such rules.

·       A plan according to paragraph 3 can e.g. specify the following:

a) Number of fishing days according to paragraph 1, including those for ice jigging.

b) Restrictions in the use of specified fishing gear during certain periods.

c) Specification of daily fishing periods.

d) Specification of fishing beats and their borders.

 

Article 19 Fishing period for landlocked trout and char

·       Annual fishing for landlocked trout and char in lakes is permitted from January 1 through December 31st.

·       Fisheries associations or owners of fishing rights, in the absence of a legal association, shall set up a plan regarding angling periods as well as any restrictions of gear or bait in their fishing waters. Such an exploitation plan shall be approved by the Directorate of Fisheries after consultation with the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries. If fisheries associations or respective owners of fishing rights neglect to submit such a plan it is right for the Directorate of Fisheries of its own initiative to set such rules.

·       Rules according to paragraph 2 can e.g. specify the following:

a) Total moratorium of fishing during a certain period.

b) Temporary fisheries ban for a few days or weeks within the total fishing period.

c) Limited fishing for domestic use during moratoria.

d) Temporary protection of trout and char during spawning

e) Specification of fishing beats and their borders.

 

Article 20 Eel fishing

·       The harvest of eel is permitted throughout the year. Eel fishing shall, however, be carried out in such a way that it does not affect migration or fishing of salmon and trout.

·       Fisheries associations or owners of fishing rights, in the absence of a legal association, shall specify rules regarding eel fishing periods as well as any restrictions of gear in their fishing waters. Such an exploitation plan shall be approved by the Directorate of Fisheries after consultation with the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries. If fisheries associations or respective owners of fishing rights neglect to submit such a plan it is right for the Directorate of Fisheries of its own initiative to set such rules. Such rules shall e.g. specify temporary or localized eel conservation measures as well as the type of gear allowed for eel fishing.

 

 

Article 21 Fishing at river junctions

·       Netting of salmon and migratory trout is not permitted at the confluence of rivers or at the influx of rivers into lakes as well as 100 meters upstream from such junctions and 250 meters downstream. Netting can furthermore not be carried out in the efflux from a lake with migrating salmonids nor 50 meters up- and downstream from that point.

·       Having received a comment from the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries the Directorate of Fisheries can upon a request from the respective fisheries association or owners of fishing rights, in the absence of a legal association, ban or restrict further than specified in paragraph 1 all fishing or specific fishing methods such as angling upstream and downstream from a river junction in the event that such an action is needed to enhance migration and conservation of fish stocks in that river.

·       A ban or restriction according to paragraph 2 shall preferably be temporary. If it is proven that such a ban or restriction have negative financial consequences for specific estate owners they shall be compensated by the stakeholders benefitting from the ban or restriction through an assessment in accordance with chapter VII of this Act.

 

Article 22 A free passage for migration

·       Fish shall have free passage in the middle of a stream or any stretch of a stream where netting is conducted with fixed engines which is called a free passage for migration.

·       A free passage spans one-third of the width of a stream in the middle as well as at river junctions according to paragraph 1 of article 21. Despite this fish shall have a free passage along the main current in the stream even where its distance from the river bank is less than one-third of the stream width.

·       If a river has many separate branches the same rules for netting apply in each branch as in a single channel river.

·       In cases where the right of free passage or the main current area are in dispute it shall be resolved through an assessment according to chapter VII of this Act.

 

Article 23 Fishing close to fish-ways

·       Fishing or disturbance of fish is prohibited in a fish-way or fish counter. Fishing is furthermore prohibited within 30 meters of the downstream opening of such structures and within 20 meters of their upstream openings. It is prohibited to damage or interfere in any way with the migration of fish to and trough these structures. It is, however, right for a fisheries association with the consent of the Directorate of Fisheries to set their own rules regarding angling in the vicinity of fish-ways.

 

Article 24 Local conservation of salmon, migratory trout and char and lake salmonids

·       If the need arises for the sake of conservation to reduce fishing or introduce a total moratorium on fishing in a whole river or lake or a specific section thereof, the Directorate of Fisheries can set such rules having consulted the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries. The respective fisheries association or owners of fishing rights, in the absence of a legal association, shall always be consulted prior to the introduction of such rules.

·       Subject to the conditions in paragraph 1 it is right for the Directorate after consulting the Institute to set rules which reduce or eliminate fishing in certain areas where fish congregate for spawning or due to an obstruction to migration in the event that such fishing is considered harmful for the local fish stocks.

·       A moratorium according to paragraph 2 may be temporary or with an unlimited time frame. If it is considered proven that such a ban or fishing restriction have negative financial consequences for specific estate owners, they shall be compensated by the stakeholders benefitting from the ban or restriction. If the matter is not negotiated, the compensations shall be decided through an assessment in accordance with chapter VII of this Act.

 

 

Article 25 Eradication of fish stocks

·       In the event that it is considered necessary to eradicate fish or other freshwater organisms from a river or lake due to fish diseases or parasites, such an action can be permitted by the Directorate of Fisheries. Prior to the issuance of a permit the Directorate shall consult respective fisheries association or owners of fishing rights in the absence of a legal association, the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries, the Environment Agency, the Icelandic Institute of Natural History and the Fish Disease Committee. If necessary certain chemical shall be specified for the eradication task with any relevant conditions regarding its use.

 

Article 26 Collection of brood-fish, scientific fishing and tagging of salmonids

·       Fisheries associations are permitted to collect salmon, trout and char for spawning purposes, if they have an approved enhancement plan according to the Enhancement Act no 58/2006. Similarly the Directorate of Fisheries can grant permission for the collection of salmonid broodfish to the owners of fishing rights in the absence of a legal association. Such brood-fish collection is exempted from the provisions in chapters III and IV of this Act, but further provisions can be found in the Salmonid Enhancement Act no. 58/2006.

·       It is right for the Directorate of Fisheries to grant scientists and research organizations   permits for scientific fishing also in private fishing waters. Scientific fishing is exempted from provisions in chapter III on salmonid management and provisions in chapter IV on fishing gear and fishing methods.

·       Those conducting scientific fishing must hold a specific scientific fishing warrant issued by the Directorate of Fisheries to individual scientists or research institutes conducting research on behalf of their employees. It is right for the Directorate to make certain demands regarding the skills and knowledge of those applying for a scientific warrant. The scientific warrant shall only be valid for a specific period and normally the fishing waters being investigated shall be specified. In certain cases e.g. when the research is being conducted all over Iceland or in specific geographical areas, such a specification of fishing waters is not needed. Scientific fishing shall as far as possible be conducted through consultation with the local fisheries associations or owners of fishing rights in the absence of a legal association.

·       The bearer of a scientific warrant is not permitted to keep the fish caught for personal use. It is right for the owner of the fishing rights to utilize the catch for his use but he is not entitled to any other reimbursement for the permission to fish.

·       The Directorate of Fisheries grants permits for scientific tagging of salmonids with certain conditions and holds a data-bank on salmonid tagging. The owners of fishing rights and those conducting salmonid fishing shall return tags to the Directorate according to rules set by the organization.

·       It is right for the Directorate of Fisheries to set rules regarding a label of origin for salmon being marketed and can make specific demands regarding external labelling of all salmon being landed in angling operations. The Directorate then provides the appropriate tags for free to stakeholders.

 

Chapter IV On fishing gear and fishing methods

 

Article 27 Fishing gear and fishing methods in a river

·       Only a line, rod, gillnet and trap net can be utilized for in-river fishing.

·       It is prohibited to utilize a hook, spear or a dip-net for in-river fishing. This equipment is, however, permitted for the process of landing a fish which has been caught in an angling or netting operation. It is not permitted to catch fish by blocking the flow of water.

·       The Directorate of Fisheries can, after consulting the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries, permit a fisheries association or the owner of fishing rights to conduct sweep-netting for migratory trout and char in its fishing area. Sweep-netting for salmon is only permitted for scientific reasons and for the collection of brood-fish. It is also right for the Directorate of Fisheries to permit fishing with fences and traps under special circumstances, provided that there are laid down specific provisions regarding the type and use of this fishing gear over and above the provisions in this Act.

·       It is not permissible to conduct simultaneously angling, netting with fixed engines or sweep-netting in the same stretch of a river or a lake where migratory salmonids are occurring.

 

Article 28 Fixed netting engines in rivers

·       Gillnets and trap nets shall lie straight into the running water or in a downstream direction from the bank or from a fence erected at right angles to the current. A leader may be used to the trap end from below which must be counted as a part of the fixed engine. Gillnets may not be laid in such a way that they form a trap and double nets may not be used.

·       During the period from May 20th through September 30th the nets specified in paragraph 1 may not have a finer mesh than such that there are at least 4,5 cm between knots when the net is wet. The same applies to a leader from a trap net or any adjacent fences.

·       A fisheries association sets internal rules regarding the type and mesh size of trout nets intended for trout fishing within their jurisdiction. Such rules shall be approved by the Directorate of Fisheries after consulting the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries.

·       The distance between fixed engines, whether they are on the same side of the stream or attached to opposing banks, shall always be at least 100 meters measured over water. The distance may, however, never be less than five times the length of the fixed engine from the bank out into the water. The total length of a fixed engine is measured as the length of the netting and associated fences plus the length of an attached leader.

·       It is not permitted to add any fixed engines in excess of those being operational for the last five years prior to the enactment of the Salmonid Fisheries Act no. 53/1957. The Directorate of Fisheries can, however, under special circumstances after consulting the Institute of Fisheries, allow an increase in number of such nets.

·       If currently operational nets according to this Act are considered to be a threat to the sustainability of local fish stocks, the Directorate of Fisheries is enabled to reduce the number of fixed engines in that river, having consulted the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries, the respective fisheries association or the owners of fishing rights in the absence of a legal association.

·       If it is considered proven that the decision of the Directorate of Fisheries is financially detrimental for certain estate owners over and above others in the same watershed, they shall be compensated by the stakeholders benefitting from the conservation measure. If the dispute is not negotiated the compensations shall be decided through an assessment in accordance with chapter VII of this Act.

 

Article 29 Angling in rivers

·       Rod and line fishing shall use live or artificial bait, which is chased and bitten by the fish. It is never permitted to use bare hooks or other pointed gadgets which hook the fish by surprise without a proper chase.

·       A fisheries association or fishing right owners in the absence of a legal association shall set an angling plan for a specific number of years within their jurisdiction. Such a plan called exploitation plan shall be submitted to the Directorate of Fisheries, which approves it after consulting the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries. If fisheries associations or respective owners of fishing rights neglect to submit such a plan it is right for the Directorate of Fisheries of its own initiative to set such a plan.

·       A plan according to paragraph 2 shall define the following items:

a) The number of rods being used for angling.

b) Any other items deemed necessary.

·     If a dispute rises regarding the division of the fishing period, fishing beats or allocation of payment between stakeholders, the unsatisfied party can demand an assessment according to chapter VII of this act, if the matter is not negotiated.

 

Article 30 Fishing gear and fishing methods in lakes

·       Only fishing or jigging lines and angling rod as well as gillnets and sweep-nets are permitted for fishing in lakes. Sweep-nets are, however, not permitted in the common waters of a lake.

·        In lake fishing it is prohibited to utilize bare hooks, spear or a dip-net. This equipment is, however, permitted for the process of landing a fish which has been caught in an angling or netting operation.

·       A fisheries associations or fishing right owners, in the absence of a legal association, shall set a plan regarding fishing within their jurisdiction. Such a plan called exploitation plan shall be submitted to the Directorate of Fisheries, which approves it after consulting the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries. If fisheries associations or respective owners of fishing rights neglect to submit such a plan it is right for the Directorate of Fisheries of its own initiative to set such a plan.

·       A plan according to  paragraph 3 can e.g. contain the following provisions:

a) An exemption for the use of fishing gear not specified in paragraph 1.

b) The number, type and use of permitted fishing gear.

c) Minimum size of harvested fish.

d) The minimum distance of angling from fixed netting engines.

e) Exemption from the prescribed ban regarding sweep-netting in common            waters.

·       In the event that salmon, migratory trout and char are migrating through a lake, the same rules apply as in rivers regarding the location of fixed netting engines and free passage for migration. In other respects the same provisions applying to river fishing apply for lake fishing as relevant.

 

Article 31 Fishing gear and methods for coastal fishing of migrating trout and char

·       It is permitted to fish for migratory trout and char in the netting zone of coastal estates on rod and line and in gillnets. No fishing gear intended for salmon fishing may be used in these fishing operations.

 

Article 32 Setting of regulations

·       The Minister shall in a regulation set down further provisions regarding fishing equipment and fishing methods covered in this chapter e.g. on the labelling of fixed netting engines.

·       It is proper for Directorate of Fisheries after consulting the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries to permit the use of alternative fishing gear and fishing methods from those described in this chapter, provided that these neither pose a threat to the biota of the fishing water nor do any harm to the migration of fish.

 

       

Chapter V On fish-ways and other structures in and around fishing waters

 

 Article 33 On construction permits in and around fishing waters

·       Any construction work or environmental change in or around fishing waters and up to 100 meters from such waters, which can have effect on the migration, natural propagation, fishing conditions or the general biota of the water, is subject to a permit from the Directorate of Fisheries. Projects subject to building and executive permits must also follow Planning and Structural Acts and pertinent regulations.

·       When applying for a permit for construction work to the Directorate of Fisheries the applying entrepreneur or landowner shall also submit a comment on the project from the relevant fisheries association, if applicable, as well as from an expert in the field of fisheries biology on possible effects of the project on the general biota of the fishing water.

·       In special circumstances the Directorate of Fisheries can demand that the entrepreneur carries out a biological survey of the fishing water prior to the issuance of a permit. The Directorate can in such circumstances prescribe the factors included in such a survey. Cost of the survey shall be borne by the applicant of the permit.

 

Article 34 Fish-ways

·       It is right for the Directorate of Fisheries, after consulting the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries, to permit fisheries associations or fishing right owners in the absence of a legal association to construct a fish-way or other comparable facilities in or alongside fishing waters. In the instances where no legal association has been established such an application must be signed by at least 2/3 of the owners of the fishing rights.

·       It is proper for the Minister to permit fisheries associations or owners of fishing rights according to paragraph 1 to execute a confiscation of land, land-use, water or use of water needed for the construction, operation and maintenance of a fish-way or a comparable structure. Compensations are subject to an assessment linked to confiscation law.

·       Subject to the provisions specified in paragraph 1 it is right for the Directorate of Fisheries to authorize a temporary or permanent closure of a fish-way.

·       If it is proven that the permits issued according to paragraph 1 and 3 have negative financial consequences for specific fishing-right owners over and above other owners, the fishing right owners benefitting from the authorization shall pay compensations. Compensations shall be decided through an assessment according to chapter VII of this Act if negotiations are unsuccessful.

 

Article 35 Other construction projects

·       In the event that a permit for a structure preventing or disturbing fish migration in fishing water is issued according to other acts the permit-holder is obliged to finance the construction and maintenance of a satisfactory fish-way according to provisions in article 34.

·       The obligation to construct a fish-way according to paragraph 1 is abrogated, if it has been demonstrated through an assessment according to chapter VII of this Act, that the costs of a fish-way construction and maintenance exceed by far the financial loss of fishing suffered by the owners of land and fishing rights upstream of the structure. They shall in this case, however, be compensated in full be the entrepreneur building the structure.

·       In the event that water is diverted out of or into fishing water for irrigation, water supply, hydro-power or other use not linked to fishing or fish migration, it is right for the Directorate of Fisheries to set provisions regarding the prevention of fish and fry migration into channels and pipelines. The associated costs shall be borne by the entrepreneur benefitting from the project.

·       In the event that a water diversion affects the flow of water in a river or lake it shall always be managed in such a way that the damage to the biota, fish migration and fishing is minimal. The manager of the diversion must consult the respective fisheries association or owners of fishing rights in the absence of a legal association regarding any intended changes in water flow for certain periods, which are likely to affect fish migration.

 

Article 36 Venue for appeal and compensations

·       The decisions of the Directorate of Fisheries according to this chapter can be referred to the appeal committee for environmental and resource issues. Matters regarding eligibility, appeal deadlines, procedures and other issues regarding the appeal are handled according to the statutes concerning the appeal committee.

·       If it is proven that a project or construction in or around a river or lake is detrimental for fish migration, general biota or other interests protected by this Act and as such causes damage to certain owners of fishing rights, the entrepreneur for the project must pay compensations. Such compensations shall be decided through an assessment according to chapter VII of this Act, if negotiations fail.

 

Chapter VI On fisheries associations

 

Article 37 The obligation to form a fisheries association and the scope of its work

·       In order to full-fill the aims set in article 1 of this Act the owners of fishing rights are obliged to form an association to manage fishing in each lake or stream. The role of such an organization is e.g. the following:

a) To oversee and enforce that the provisions of this act and the articles of the association on management and fishing methods are being respected in the respective jurisdiction.

b) To conduct fisheries enhancement in the lake or stream as needed in order to secure the natural propagation of the fish stocks and their sustainable use.

c) To allocate fishing or fishing dividends between members according to their rights.

d) To lease angling for the whole jurisdiction or a part thereof prioritizing the interests of all association members as well as the purpose of this Act to utilize the stocks in a sustainable manner.

          e)To conducts various tasks pertaining to the execution of this Act as prescribed.       

·       The members of an association are all legal parties registered as owners of fishing rights within the relevant jurisdiction according to article 12 but their voting rights must follow the provisions of article 40. Individual association members are not personally responsible for the financial obligations of the fishing association.

·       Fisheries association operating according to this Act is responsible for all fishing within its domain and after its establishment all fishing is prohibited without a permit from the association.

·       In the event that an association has leased angling to a party in the whole jurisdiction, every association member is obliged to grant access to fishing beats on their land. The parties having this access must, however, always minimize any disturbance or damage to the interests of the respective landowner.

·       If a new party takes over the fishing rights according to chapter II of this Act through a title deed or on the basis of a farm lease that party is obliged to become a member of the fisheries association and overtake the obligations of its predecessor.

·       The private properties of a fisheries association are a part of all properties owned by individual fishing right owners according to the register of dividends.

·       It is right for the Minister to set further provisions on the operation of fisheries associations as further specified in this chapter.

 

Article 38 The jurisdiction of a fisheries association

·       The domain of a fisheries association may encompass a whole water catchment area with fishing possibilities, a single tributary of a catchment area or a single stretch of fishing waters in a catchment area, where special conditions prevail regarding fishing or fishing conditions. This may also apply to lakes or rivers in upland pastures which are a part of one or more water catchment areas and are situated in the same general area.

·       The Directorate of Fisheries shall decide on the domain of a fisheries association after consultation with the owners of fishing rights within the jurisdiction.

·       If fishing starts within the territory of an estate inside the catchment area of an association but outside its domain, that estate shall be a part of the domain and its owner obliged to join the fisheries association.

·       If the domain of an association is only a part of a river the upstream borders of the jurisdiction shall be where fishing stops unless special conditions such as on going fry or smolt releases are responsible for the upstream fishing.

 

Article 39 The establishment of a fisheries association

·       In an area where there is no legal fisheries association operating, one or more owners of fishing rights can have the initiative to form a fisheries association and summon owners of fishing rights to an inaugural meeting. That failing it is the duty of the Directorate of Fisheries to summon to such a meeting.

·        All known fishing right owners within the prospective domain shall be summoned to the inaugural meeting cf. article 12. It is right for the Minister to specify in a regulation further provisions regarding the initiation of an inaugural meeting and its agenda. The summoning to other meetings of a fisheries association shall follow the same procedure.

·       At the inaugural meeting the association shall adopt its “Articles of Association, which shall at least include the following:

a) The name of the association.

b) The domicile and venue.

c) The domain of the association with a list of all estates or individuals as well      as other legal parties which own fishing rights according to chapter II of this Act.

d) The pursuits of the association.

e) The composition and the area of responsibility for the association’s board.

f)  Legal procedures, the association’s accounts and their audit.

g) The obligation to submit a fiscal plan for the coming year at the annual meeting.

h) The disposal of the association’s catch or profits and the payment of expenses resulting from the association’s activities.

The Minister shall in accordance with this paragraph include a prescriptive form for “Articles of Association” in a regulation.

·       It is proper to specify in “Articles of Association” that the respective association shall operate in separate divisions provided that each division encompasses a separate lake or river or a part thereof. Each division then leases fishing within its own jurisdiction within limits set by the annual meeting of the mother association.

·       A two-thirds majority is required for the adoption of “Articles of Association” or their change. Should “Articles” not be adopted as a result of poor attendance another meeting shall be called in the same manner as previously described in which case only a simple majority of votes is needed for legal adoption or change of the “Articles of Association”.

·       In the event that a fisheries association has not adopted legal “Articles” according to this paragraph, it is right for the Directorate of Fisheries to set “Articles of Association” for the respective fisheries association which will apply until the association has adopted its own “Articles”.

·       Anyone wanting to challenge the legality of an established fisheries association can file a complaint with the appropriate courts within six months after the inaugural meeting.

·       “Articles of Association” according to paragraph 3 shall be endorsed by the Directorate of Fisheries and published in the B-section of the government’s Law Gazette “Stjórnartíðindi” after the expiration of the appeal deadline according to paragraph 7.

 

Article 40 The voting rights at meetings in a fisheries association.  

·       Each estate with fishing rights within the domain of a fisheries association has one vote according to this Act. The same is true regarding a fisheries association which is solely formed in respect of lakes or rivers in upland pastures within public highland areas. The definition of an estate in this case pertains to all estates and farms including deserted farms which full-fill all legal requirements to be documented as legal farms at the enactment of the older Estate Act (jarðalög) no. 65/1976.

·       In the event that there are many owners of an estate and of fishing rights as well as if there are many occupiers of an estate, they shall come to a written agreement on the current holder of the vote and this shall be reported to the fisheries association in a confirmable manner. Same is true when an estate has been proportionally legally divided between its owners.

·       When two or more estates with fishing rights have been merged the unified estate has one vote.

·       When the fishing rights have been legally separated from an estate or if a property no longer has the status of an estate with the consent of proper authorities, one vote shall be allocated to the estate or piece of land, which initially held the fishing rights.

·       The leaseholder of an estate rented according to the lease holding laws shall hold one vote unless otherwise negotiated cf. paragraph 3 of article 5.

·       The right to vote may be delegated to another, provided that the power of attorney is in writing and no older than three months. The mandate shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

·       In the event that a proposal is put forward at a meeting to finance a project which may cost more than 25% of the annual income of the association in that year, each member of the fisheries association may demand that the voting procedure is based on the register of dividends for the association. In that case each unit in the register represents one vote. It is permissible to have provisions in the articles of an association stating that this voting rule shall apply in more specific cases regarding decision making processes within the association.

·       A simple voting majority shall decide on matters which are not specifically covered in this Act or in the articles of each association.

 

Article 41 Register of Dividends

·       A fisheries association shall make a register showing how the proportional distribution of fishing or profits from fishing are allocated between estates, individuals and legal owners of fishing rights within the association’s domain.

·       In the allocation process for fishing or profits thereof the following shall be taken into account:

a) Local suitability regarding netting and angling conditions.

b) Length of banks as well as flow and area of lake or river bottom.

c) Spawning and rearing conditions in each area.

·       The register of dividends shall be presented to all association members for adoption or rejection at a lawfully summoned meeting. It shall be put to a vote and a two-thirds majority of all association members is needed for its adoption. Should the register not be adopted as a result of poor attendance another meeting shall be called in the same manner as previously described in which case only a simple majority of votes is needed for legal adoption.

·       In the event that the register of dividends is not adopted, the board of the fisheries association must request an assessment according to chapter VII of this Act regarding items listed in paragraph 1. Each member has also the right to call for an assessment as prescribed with the provision that the request is formally submitted within a period of two months from the time of the meeting where the register was adopted.

·       A register of dividends shall be endorsed by the Directorate of Fisheries and published in the B-section of the government’s Law Gazette (Stjórnartíðindi) after the expiration of the appeal deadline according to paragraph 4. In the event of a request for an assessment a previous existing register of dividends shall apply until an assessment report according to chapter VII is available and an associated register of dividends has been endorsed and published.

·       It is right for the board of a fisheries association, with or without a formal meeting resolution, as well as for individual association members to demand a revision of the register of dividends after 8 years have passed from its endorsement.

·       The Minister shall set further provisions on the register of dividends in a regulation.

 

Article 43 Authority to file a complaint

·       In the event that there is a dispute between the members of a fisheries association regarding a decision made by the board or at an association meeting it is right for any association member to file a complaint to the Directorate of Fisheries within 3 months after the decision making process.

·       The Directorate shall finish its deliberations and pass a verdict within two months after the submission of the complaint.

·       If the challenged decision is considered unlawful the Directorate of Fisheries invalidates the decision. The ruling of the Directorate of Fisheries according to this article can not be appealed to the Minister.

 

Chapter VII On assessments and compensations  

 

Article 44 The appointment of an assessment committee

  • The Minister appoints 3 members and an equal number of vice-members to an assessment committee for a period of 4 years. One shall be appointed without a nomination, which shall be the chairman and one with the qualifications of a lower-court judge nominated by the Icelandic Superior Court. One member shall be nominated by the board of the Federation of Freshwater Fisheries Associations. The committee allocates tasks to its members.
  • The Minister is enabled to extend the appointment period of the assessors by 6 months in order to finish the ongoing tasks which have been initiated prior to the appointment of a new committee.
  • It is proper for assessors to call for expert opinion if necessary. It can also request the opinion and promote further research in fishing waters by experts or research institutes where such an activity is vital for conclusive assessment.
  • The Minister decides on an hourly wage for the assessors and their secretary. Wages as well as other costs shall be paid through the government’s fiscal budget. The decree of the committee regarding assessment costs cf. article 47 shall be based on the assumption that it covers all costs of the assessment process.
  • It is proper for the assessment committee to hire a secretary.

 

Article 45 The request for a verdict or assessment

  • In the event that some members of a fisheries association disagree on the prevailing register of dividends the dispute shall be submitted to the committee of assessors according to paragraphs 4 and 6 of article 41.
  • If there is a dispute regarding the definition or delimitation of the sea, flowing water, lake, river, estuary, tributary, deep water or the demarcation of a water catchment it is right to submit the dispute for a verdict from the assessment committee.
  • The assessment committee shall also pursue other tasks delegated to it by law.
  • The petition for a ruling on points of controversy shall be submitted in written form with a clear definition of the controversial issues and an inclusion of all necessary corroborating data.

 

Article 46 Legal procedures

  • The assessment committee shall decide on the commencement of a case with at least one weeks notice by informing the relevant fisheries association or owners of fishing rights with vested interests through a registered letter, telegram or other formal secure means. Alternatively the assessment committee can send a formal petition to the relevant fisheries association to inform all fishing right owners within its domain about the commencement of the case. If it is unclear at the start of the case which parties have vested interests an announcement shall be published in the Official Gazette (Lögbirtingablaðið).
  • During the initial commencement session all pertinent parties shall be challenged to inform whether they have any criticism regarding the legal qualifications of the committee’s members to deal with the matter. During this session the controversy shall be further defined which can, however, be carried out by the committee if the need arises.
  • The legal procedures follow the provisions of the administrative procedures act unless otherwise specified in this Act.
  • The assessment committee shall visit the site of the dispute after summoning the relevant parties as further prescribed by the committee.
  • The assessment committee shall in a written well-founded verdict declare its conclusions. The form and subject of the verdict shall follow article 31 of the administrative procedures act as far as possible. A verdict shall be announced according to procedures prescribed in paragraph 1.

 

Article 47 The cost of an assessment

  • The verdict of the assessment committee shall include a section on the incurred costs of the assessment process and how the expenses, which are payable to the State Treasury, shall be distributed between the relevant petitioners. Fisheries associations shall normally pay expenses for the revision of a register of dividends.
  • The assessment costs include all costs incurred during the assessment process including the salaries of the assessors according to a recorded time-sheet and the costs of hiring experts according to paragraph 3 of article 44. Travelling costs and other incurred costs as well as the salaries of the committee’s secretary according to a time-sheet must also be included.

 

Article 48 Assessment committee verdicts and deadlines for appeal  

  • The assessment committee appointed according to paragraph 1 of article 44 works in an independent manner and its verdicts can not be appealed to other administrative authorities.
  • In the event that a party wants to file a complaint regarding the committee’s verdict to the appropriate court, it shall be filed within 6 months of the presentation of the verdict to the complainant. The filing of a court complaint does not postpone the enactment of the verdict.

 

Article 49 Compensatory damages due to curtailed fishing rights

·       In the event that the enactment of a law has resulted in the reduction of fishing for one owner of fishing rights over and above others within the same fisheries jurisdiction, that owner is entitled to compensations from the State according to an assessment of his loss.

·       In the event that a resolution of a fisheries association regarding fishing or conservation of fish leads to a curtailment of fishing for one owner of fishing rights over and above others, he is entitled to compensations from other fishing right owners within the jurisdiction as long as the resolution is being enforced. The compensations shall be in the form of an annual payment which shall be decided through an assessment if negotiations fail. Compensations for damage can be decided in the form of extra points in the register of dividends for the respective fisheries association. It is the duty of the board of a fisheries association to collect compensation payments from its members.

·       When a decision is made on the level of compensations, their payments and reimbursements according to this Act it shall as appropriate follow laws on the execution of land confiscation.

 

 

Chapter VIII On penalties and judicial proceedings

 

Article 50 On penalties

·       A person is liable to be fined or detained up to two years in case of serious offence, if :

a) He fishes without permission in the waters of another person.

b) He is found with fishing gear at the fishing waters of another person off the usual   paths, unless it is shown that he has a lawful reason to be there.

c) He fishes at a time when fishing is prohibited, or in a place where fishing is prohibited.

d) He uses fishing tackle or techniques which are prohibited or does not adhere to the rules laid down for the use of fishing equipment or fishing methods.

e) He takes fish which are is less than the lawful size or fails to release into the waters a caught fish which should be released.

f) He is in breach of the provisions in paragraphs 1 or 3 in article 27, article 28, paragraph 1 of article 29, paragraphs 1 or 2 of article 30 and paragraph 1 of article 33.

g) He damages a fish-way or obstructs in an unlawful manner the passage of fish through fishing waters.

h) He uses explosives, firearms, electricity, poisonous or anaesthetic substances or directs water away from the fish when fishing.

i) He does not adhere to the rules laid down on fisheries associations or their articles.

 

Article 51 On the stages of fulfilment for offences

·       Offences mentioned in paragraphs c, d and h of article 50 are considered committed as soon as the fishing gear has been brought to the fishing area unless proven that it has been moved there for lawful reasons.

 

Article 52 On the rights of a victim to damages  

·       If a person fishes without a permit in other person’s fishing waters, the owner of the fishing rights is entitled to all the fish caught or equal value as well as compensations for other damage that he may have suffered.

 

Article 53 On the confiscation of fishing gear and illegal catch

·       Illegal fishing gear and fishing gear used in an unlawful manner shall be confiscated. Same applies to illegal catch of fish, see, however, article 52.

 

Article 54 On the disposal of fines

·       All fines according to this Act and the sales value of impounded fishing gear are paid to the State Treasury.

 

Article 55 Non-criminal fines

·       The police and the Icelandic coast guard are permitted to levy a non-criminal fee of I.kr. 50.000 to be paid by a skipper or any person who has caught a salmon in the sea and wilfully or accidentally not released it back into the sea. If the offence is considered serious it is permitted to levy a non-criminal fine of 200.000. Fines according to this article are paid to the Icelandic Territorial Waters Fund (Landhelgissjóður Íslands).

 

Chapter IX Enactment et.al.

 

Article 56 Enactment et.al.

·       This Act enters into force on July 1 2006.

·       The provisions in chapter VII on cases handled by the assessment committee only apply to cases submitted after the enactment of this law. In the event that a case is reopened after the enactment of his Act, its provisions shall apply from then on.

·       The cases already being processed by assessors and superior assessors according to paragraphs 2 and 3 of article 101 in the Salmonid Fisheries Act no.76/1970 with later amendments when this Act enters into force shall be processed according to the provisions of the older law.

·       An assessment according to paragraph 2 of article 101 in the Salmonid Fisheries Act no. 76/1970 can be appealed to the assessment committee within two months from the announcement of the assessment.

·       An assessment according to paragraph 3 of article 101 in the Salmonid Fisheries Act no. 76/1970 shall be submitted to the assessment committee according to the provisions of paragraph 2 of article 45 of this Act.

 

Article 57 Temporary provisions

I. The appointment of a consultation committee which shall operate from 2006 through 2010 (No longer applicable).

 

II. Any valid “Articles of Association” for individual fisheries association shall be changed and adapted to the provisions of this Act within a year from its enactment.

 

Translated from Icelandic - Árni Ísaksson