Salmon Farms Granted Exemption by Environment Ministry

Salmon Farm.

Salmon farming companies Arctic Fish and Arnarlax were granted an exemption earlier this week by the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, RÚV reports. The exemption allows the companies to continue operating for the time being, while they aim to address the environmental shortcomings that caused their licences to be revoked last month. Iceland’s growing aquaculture industry has been in the local media spotlight lately due to concerns of its environmental impact.

The operational licenses of the companies for salmon farming in open-net sea pens in Patreksfjörður and Tálknafjörður were revoked in October due to shortcomings in environmental assessment. Shortly following the removal of the licences, parliament passed a law giving the Minister of Fisheries authority to grant provisional licences for fish farming. The Minister granted the companies such licences earlier this month. Now the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources has granted the companies an exemption for an operating licence for a period of ten months.

The temporary licences are valid for a total of 4,000 tonnes of salmon, a fraction of the companies’ previous licence for 17,500 tonnes which was revoked. In the exemption, it is requested the companies actively work to remedy the environmental deficiencies that caused their licences to be revoked.

A town hall meeting will be held in Tálknafjörður for residents of the affected areas today, with representatives from the two companies present to answer questions.

Sulphur Smell by Sólheimajökull Glacier

Sólheimajökull glacier

A strong sulphur smell has been noticed in the vicinity of Sólheimajökull glacier in South Iceland, the Icelandic Met Office reports. No significant changes have been observed in hydrological, gas, or seismic data in the area.

Still weather in the coming days means any gases caused by geothermal activity can accumulate in higher concentrations. Individuals in the region are encouraged not to remain in low-lying areas where gas tends to accumulate and avoid proximity to Jökulsá á Sólheimasandur river.