Westfjords residents back aquaculture, survey finds

A majority of people living in the Westfjords region of Iceland, where much of the country’s salmon farming is located, remain positive about the aquaculture industry – but support is less solid than it was, a poll has found.

While 67% remained positive about the industry, that compares with 81% in a similar poll carried out two years earlier.

The results come from a survey carried out towards the end of last year by the University of Akureyri research institute on behalf of the Vestfjörður regional agency, which monitors issues such as transport and infrastructure.

The overall level of response from local inhabitants was disappointing with just over 10% of according to the recently published results of a survey conducted towards the end of last year.

Westfjords is home to most of Iceland’s main salmon farming companies who are planning further expansion over the next few years.

The agency sent out 4,953 questionnaires last September, but only 525 had been returned by the 9 November deadline.

When asked whether aquaculture improves their standard of living, some 70% strongly agreed.

They also said it brought in a lot of extra income for the region’s local authorities along with many secondary and direct jobs, strengthening existing businesses.

Concerns over pollution seemed to be the main issue with most of the negative replies.

Around 23% of responders said it was a problem although a similar percentage did not hold any views one way or the other. But 38% did not feel it was a problem.

And around half did not feel the industry would negatively impact on tourism, another major sources of income for the region.

People also felt transport links were better now in the region, although there was still room for further improvement.

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