Ice­land tips big rise in salmon ex­ports

Fish Farmer - - News -

MORE than a quar­ter of Ice­land’s seafood ex­ports could be from salmon farms within the next four years, a lead­ing fig­ure in the in­dus­try has fore­cast.

Þorsteinn Más­son, re­gional man­ager of the aqua­cul­ture com­pany Arnarlax, said that while his pre­dic­tion – made in a re­cent lec­ture – may be ‘a bit dar­ing’ at the mo­ment, he was bas­ing his the­ory on the fact that Ice­land’s Marine Re­search In­sti­tute pre­dicted that more than 70,000 tonnes of salmon could be bred safely with­out harm­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

He thought that salmon farm­ing could ac­count for 27 per cent of fish­ery re­lated ex­ports by 2022. How­ever, he warned there were still sev­eral is­sues to over­come be­fore his fore­cast could be­come a re­al­ity.

For ex­am­ple, a num­ber of li­cence ap­pli­ca­tions still had to be for­mally com­pleted and a great deal of nec­es­sary in­fras­truc­ture, in­clud­ing the fish farms them­selves, needed to be in place.

Þorsteinn Más­son pointed out that cod, still Ice­land’s most valu­able species, ac- counted for just be­low 46 per cent of marine prod­uct ex­port value.

With even 71,000 tonnes, Ice­land would con­tinue to be a rel­a­tively small player com­pared to other salmon farm­ing coun­tries, such as Nor­way, Scot­land and the Faroe Is­lands, be­cause of the de­ter­mi­na­tion to pro­tect wild salmon stocks.

He pointed out that in 2017 the Faroe Is­lands pro­duced 77,000 tonnes of salmon, the UK 157,000 tonnes Canada 143,000 tonnes, and Ire­land 16,000 tonnes. But the gi­ant was Nor­way, at 1,300,000 tonnes. Ice­land’s out­put, by com­par­i­son, was a mere 10,000 tonnes.

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