Iceland has a new fisheries minister – and a new coalition government with a determined pledge to strengthen the country’s fish farming industry.

Left-green party member and Health Minister in the old government, Svandís Svavarsdóttir takes over the key cabinet job of Minister of Food, Fisheries and Agriculture from long-serving Kristján Þór Júlíusson who is no longer in parliament.

The new government is a politically strange alliance between the Left-Greens, the conservative leaning Independence Party and the centre right Progressive Party. It finally came together last weekend, more than two months after the general election.

Katrin Jakobsdottir of the Left Green movement will continue as prime minister.

The new administration, which hopes to be in power for four years, said it plans to create a comprehensive policy on the structure, framework and charging system for the country’s growing aquaculture industry.

It added: “In this work, emphasis will be placed on opportunities for job creation on the basis of self-sufficiency, scientific knowledge and the protection of wild salmon stocks”.

It also plans to appoint a committee to map new opportunities and challenges across the seafood and fisheries sector.

Labour-related disputes have hit Iceland’s traditional fishing sector in recent years and the government says it wants to submit proposals for improved social harmony.

Icelanders voted to remain outside the European Union several years ago – and this policy has not changed.

The new government stated: “Iceland’s interests are best served outside the European Union. The Government will place greater emphasis on the implementation and development of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement so that Iceland’s interests and sovereignty in co-operation and trade with other countries are secured.”

Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Iceland’s Fisheries Minister

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