ARCTIC Sea Farms, one of the largest aquaculture companies in Iceland, has confirmed plans for a significant expansion of its operations.
According to Morgunbladid, Iceland’s main newspaper, it intends to increase salmon production in Dýrafjörður, a narrow but beautiful fjord near the town of Isafjordur in the north west of the country.
Last year, the company received operating licences that allowed 4,200 tonnes of production in Dýrafjörður, doubling the previous license allotment of 2,100 tonnes. Arctic Sea farms has published a preliminary report on its plans which, with the previous approval would eventually result in a total production yield of 10,000 tons of salmon a year.
The company insists the plan will have little or no effect on the local environment, but it will have a major positive impact on the economy of that area, particularly through extra employment.
It is not the only proposal by Arctic Sea Farms. A few months ago it submitted a report outlining plans to increase output at the nearby community of Arnarfjordur to produce up to 4,000 tons of salmon.
In May this year the company outlined its plans to the local population at both Dýrafjörður and Arnarfjordur and when it thought most of them approved the expansion proposals.
Arctic Sea Farms is a subsidiary of Arctic Fish, a company mainly owned by Norwegian interests. But Arctic Fish also has some high profile UK retail names among its customers. In March it became the first Iceland fish farming operation to receive ASC certification.
Iceland is now committed to expanding its still relatively young aquaculture industry. A number of other companies have growth plans in the pipeline. The main argument in the country is by how much and where the new farms should be located.