ICELAND’S annual aquaculture conference, which begins today, has invited a leading Norwegian industry analyst to address delegates.
Dag Sletmo, DNB senior vice president and seafood analyst, will speak at the Aqua-Ice event, in Reykjavik today and tomorrow, about lessons learned in Norway.
‘Iceland has a large potential in salmon farming, bigger than Norway relative to the size of the population,’ said Sletmo on LinkedIn.
‘The annual value creation per job in this industry is NOK 3 million in Norway, compared to the national average of NOK 1 million (ex oil).
‘And most of those jobs are in small coastal communities which may not have survived without them.’
This, he said, was a similar situation to the West and East Fjords in Iceland.
Icelanders in coastal communities have welcomed the jobs fish farming brings, but the sector has faced fierce opposition from environmentalists.
Sletmo said of the Norwegian experience: ‘There are many pitfalls, including regulations. Regulations should be very strict in terms of biosecurity, otherwise liberal.
‘Norway started out way too strict (nobody could own more than one licence), Chile started out way too liberal. Both countries have now migrated towards the middle, with much better results.’
The conference sessions will focus on opportunities for growth in the Icelandic industry, which has attracted much investment – of finance and expertise – from Norway.
Norwegian farmer SalMar announced earlier this year it was buying 100 per cent of Icelandic producer Arnarlax.
According to Iceland’s Food and Veterinary Authority, the industry is expected to grow by almost 50 per cent this year, from 13,448 tonnes in 2018 to around 20,000 tonnes.
At Aqua-Ice, there will be discussions on the technological advances in both ocean and land based farming; on environmental and safety issues in marine cage farms; and on the processing, logistics and marketing of farmed fish.
Algae cultivation will be another subject on the agenda, as will opportunities for shellfish culture.
Aqua-Ice 2019, from March 21–22, takes place at the Grand Hotel, Reykjavik.
Picture: DNB’s Dag Sletmo