Arnarlax goes for growth

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Icelandic salmon farmer Arnarlax has applied for a big expansion at one of its sites in the Westfjords, and the company is also investing in two large feed barges.

The company, owned by Norway’s SalMar, wants to increase production from 10,000 tonnes to up to 16,000 tonnes at Arnarfjörður, a rise of 60%.

However, the plan is facing opposition from conservation groups, notably the Icelandic Fund for Nature Conservation on the grounds that it will lead to a significant increase in the use on treatments for salmon lice which will affect the eco balance of the area..

The fund said that the site had already been affected with a seventeen fold increase in the use of insecticides and medicated feed in the six years between 2017 and 2023, a claim which has been strongly challenged by the company.

Meanwhile, Arnarlax is spending around a billion Icelandic kroner (£5.7m) in the two new feed barges.

Each can take 900 tonnes of feed and they are both hybrids. When they are deployed, the company will have seven barges in its feed fleet, allowing for at sea storage of 3,600 tonnes.

The vessels are named Steinborga and Svanborga after people from the area.

Arnarlax is Iceland’s largest salmon farming company. It recently reported an operational profit of €18.4m (£16m) for the first quarter of this year.

The company has also reported that its harvest during the period almost doubled, rising from 3,369 tonnes in Q1 2022 to 6,572 tonnes this time.

Arnarlax said the high harvest volume was due to a strong market and the company’s ability to meet earlier biological challenges.

Arnarlax farm, Iceland

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