Salmon production in Iceland up by 35%

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Government expert believes that the rapid growth recently seen in farmed salmon production in Iceland will slow in the coming years.

More than 46,000 tons of salmon were produced in Iceland last year, according to information from MAST, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority. Production increased by more than 12,000 tons last year, that is, by 35 percent, and exceeded expected production by 3,000 tons.

Speaking to Icelandic newspaper, MorgunblaðiðSigurður Pétursson, founder and former managing director of Arctic Fish, said that nowhere in the world has there been such a rapid increase in the production of Atlantic salmon.

Gísli Jónsson, a veterinarian at MAST, said there are two reasons why the production exceeded expectations: Salmon grew fast in marine pens in late summer and into fall, causing some companies to start harvesting early to reduce crowding at the growing grounds by winter. Secondly, a viral disease that came up in salmon in Reyðarfjörður, the East Fjords, caused the emptying of marine pens to be expediated in certain breeding grounds.

Salmon farming is mainly done at sea farming facilities in the West Fjords and in the East Fjords of Iceland. Land based fish farming has decreased, most likely temporarily.

The largest producer of farmed salmon in Iceland is Icelandic Salmon, which produced 23,600 tons last year, followed by Arctic Fish, with about 11,500 tons. Sea farming facilities in the East Fjords are growing rapidly.

Jónsson believes that the rapid growth recently seen in farmed salmon production in Iceland will slow down in the coming years. He expects some production increase this year, likely resulting in total production being in excess of 50,000 tons by the end of the year.