Volcano crisis: fish farmer battles to save business

Iceland Volcanic eruption 2021. The volcano Fagradalsfjall is located in the valley Geldingadalir close to Grindavik and Reykjavik. Hot lava and magma coming out of the crater.

Fish farming and fishing companies around the beleaguered town of Grindavik are racing to save what they can of their businesses from being engulfed by an expected volcanic eruption.

The latest reports suggest that the port could be lost for good, with problems likely to remain for years. Earthquakes in the locality have already caused extensive damage and there are fears that magma – molten rock – could break through to the surface, bringing further devastation.

Iceland’s geology makes it one of the regions in the world most subject to volcanic activity. The country sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates diverge.

The impact of such eruptions is very local – but very costly. A processing factory belonging to the Arctic char fish farming company has already suffered major damage. Company Managing Director Arni Pall Einarsson told the broadcaster RUV.is that while he had lost a lot of fish there was still a great deal of biomass at the base.

He said “This is an emotional loss. The conditions on the ground are all very challenging. There is a lot of fish still at the station which is of great value”

The situation continues to be very complicated and it was difficult to get people onto the site. One of the main problems involves getting food to the fish.

“At times like this you have to reduce feeding and reduce your sails accordingly”, he added. “Matorka’s employees are working with the authorities to find the best way of salvaging the situation.”

Trawlers which normally land their catches at Grindavik are currently seeking other ports not affected by the eruption.

Grindavik is close to where a number of new RAS fish farms are planned over the next few years, but it is too early for a decision on the future of these projects.

The port of Grindavik, Iceland

 

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