New blow for Iceland shrimp sector


ICELAND’S struggling coldwater shrimp industry has taken a further hit with the closure of an important processing  centre in the west of the country.
Fisk Seafood ehf said a decision had been made to cease production its its shrimp (prawn) site in Grundarfjörður with the loss of 21 jobs. While the figure may not seem high, Grundarfjörður is an isolated community with a population of just 870 people, so 21 jobs represents a sizeable proportion of the local  workforce.
Fisk met the staff last week to explain the economic situation. It then issued a statement saying that shrimp fishing and processing in Iceland had been difficult, adding that the site had been loss making for some time. The factory will now be cleared and offered for sale.
Friðbjörn Ásbjörnsson, deputy managing director of Fisk Seafood ehf said the decision to close the factory had been a painful one but economically necessary. He explained that shrimp stocks and catches has fallen by ten per cent over the last few years.
The situation has been made worse by the strength of the Icelandic kroner – something Iceland’s entire fishing industry has been warning the government about for the past year. This has made their products more expensive in overseas markets, especially in the UK which has also seen a sharp drop in the value of sterling. Rising labour costs have also added to the problem.
Northern shrimp or coldwater shrimp (Pandalus borealis) which is found all around the Arctic has seen stocks decline over several years. Several possibilities have been put forward, but  global climate change is thought to be the most likely explanation..


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