Fishing town facing new eruption threat

The eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula as seen from a surveillance flight of the Icelandic Coast Guard (Photograph: Björn Oddsson)

The Icelandic fishing and aquaculture port of Grindavik is facing more problems today following renewed volcanic activity in the area.

Molten rock has erupted across the area causing further evacuation and the shutdown of any meaningful industry.

Observers saw a further spectacular eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula, spreading across a near two-mile wide fissure near Sylingarfell. Lava shot more than 150 feet (50 metres) into the air yesterday.

The Icelandic Coastguard captured dramatic images of the eruption (pictured above – photoBjörn Oddsson).

Much of the town has been evacuated and there are serious questions as to whether the residents can ever safely return. The authorities are currently trying to save health care centres and other facilities in nearby communities.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office said that it looks as if magma is coming into contact with groundwater, which is likely to result in a steam plume mixing with a dark ash plume.

Grindavik is home to several seafood businesses, mostly catching related, but including some involved in fish farming.

One of them is a processing factory belonging to the Arctic char fish farming company Matorka, which has already suffered damage from an earthquake. Matorka’s head office and fish grow out facilities are sited in the town, but its hatchery is elsewhere.

At the moment, the future of the port and the continued presence of its seafood companies remain in the balance.

Only a few weeks earlier the company reported that 2023 had been one of its best years so far across a number of categories.

Grindavik and the volcano site are only a few miles from where at least two land-based salmon farms are planned and, so far, there has been no indication as to whether they will be cancelled or moved elsewhere.







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