Fishing company halts plan to leave Reykjavik –

Fishing company halts plan to leave Reykjavik Published:  18 September, 2007

HB Grandi, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, has dramatically reversed a plan to move a major fish processing plant out of Reykjavik.

The intention was to relocate the operation to Akranes on Iceland’s west coast within the next two years. The move would have been welcomed in ports outside the capital where a number of processing plants in remote harbours have either closed down or seen significant reductions in staff numbers.

But now – in a surprise about turn – the board of HB Grandi has just announced that the decision has been ‘revised’ and that the company will remain in Reykjavik, at least for the immediate future.

There seem to be two main reasons for the change of heart. The board is not convinced that new fishing harbour facilities in Akranes will be sufficiently improved in two years time and, secondly, directors are apparently unhappy with the restrictions placed by local municipal authorities on use of the land now occupied in Reykjavik by HB Grandi. However, the move would have put the new fish processing factory closer to the fishing grounds.

HB Grandi has processing facilities in the old harbour area of Reykjavik and it operates a fish meal factory in the same area, which was also going to be moved – probably to Vopnafjordur in the east of the island.

Around 120 workers at the two sites would have been affected and while many of them would have been offered jobs at the new locations, it was not known how many of them would have been prepared to move. Despite fish factory closures in the province, unemployment in Iceland is below one per cent and it is difficult to recruit skilled staff in certain key areas. Just like in Britain, the labour shortage in fish processing jobs has, in part, been filled by workers from Eastern Europe.

The 8,000 square metre Reykjavik site which was going to be vacated by HB Grandi had been earmarked by a number of developers for possible use for the building of luxury seafront apartments. HB Grandi also owns a number of powerful fishing trawlers, each with their own allocated fishing quotas. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.