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Icelandic Fish Farming Set To Double

ICELAND - The Icelandic Aquaculture Association (TIAA) has predicted a steady, but significant increase of the country's aquaculture industry over the next few years. The current production is around 5,000 tonnes a year and the association expects that total to more than double by 2015.

The production value of Icelandic fish farming this year is estimated at ISK 3 billion ($24 million, €16 million) and has been between ISK 1.7 to 3.3 billion in the past five years.

However, the production capacity has decreased in the past years because of a recession in salmon farming. On the other hand, Arctic char farming is successful where Icelanders are leading and have the largest share of the international market. Approximately 3,000 tonnes of Arctic char will be produced this year.

Managing director of TIAA, Gudbergur Rúnarsson said the operational conditions for fish farming in Iceland have improved lately with the depreciation of the Icelandic króna. “The exchange rate was highly unfavourable in 2006 and 2007 but not anymore. The price has also remained good, on Arctic char, for example.”

However, TIAA members are concerned about the planned energy tax, considering that ten to 15 per cent of the operational cost in fish farming is energy. Fish farmers have long lobbied, in vain, for lower energy prices, as have other industries.

Many jobs are created by fish farming in Iceland, in addition to related jobs at service companies and institutions. Additionally, a number of research and development projects have been launched in relation to the industry.

Mr Rúnarsson believes fish farming has a future in Iceland, looking towards the Faroe Islands which produce around 40,000 tons of fish per year through aquaculture.

the Fish Site Editor

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