Arctic Sea Farm expansion moves ahead

The expansion of salmon farming in the Westfjords region of Iceland has taken another step forward with the proposed granting of a 4,000 tonne licence to Arctic Sea Farm.

The company, a subsidiary of Arctic Fish, has been given the go ahead to open up in Arnarfjörður, a 20 mile long and seven mile wide fjord on the outer edge of the Westfjordur region.

MAST, the licensing authority, said the proposal is based on an assessment report from two years ago.

It adds: “This is a new operating licence that allows a maximum biomass of salmon of up to 4,000 tonnes at any one time. Arctic Sea Farm has already undergone an environmental impact assessment.”

Comments on the proposal close next week. If confirmed, the decision will give the company licences to farm 27,100 tonnes of fish in Iceland, of which 21,800 tonnes would be salmon and 5,300 tonnes trout. However, the company is in the process of converting the trout licences into salmon.

Arnarfjörður is poised to become one of Iceland’s main salmon producing districts, generating an economic revival and many new jobs.

The country’s Institute of Marine Research has said the fjord is capable of producing up to 20,000 tonnes of fertile salmon. Arnarlax, which is owned by SalMar, already has approval to farm 11,500 tonnes and has plans to add another 4,500 tonnes.

Arctic Sea Farm, which is coming into Arnarfjörður for the first time, is a subsidiary of the holding company Arctic Fish, which is largely owned by Norway Royal Salmon.

It boasts “no escapes, no chemicals, no lice, – just pure salmon” and says it has more than 40 years’ experience in the sector.