Iceland’s Glaciological Society has been conducting annual research trips to Vatnajökull glacier since the middle of last century. Now change is afoot.
Aquaculture production in Iceland is expected to double in the next two years, according to a press release from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. The export value of the industry could grow to ISK 40 billion ($322m/€294m) per year by 2021, or nearly 3% of national exports. Continued growth is projected after 2021 as well.
Open-net salmon farms account for around three quarters of all fish farms in Iceland. Total licenced production volume for the aquaculture industry was almost doubled this year and is now about 85,000 tonnes per year. It will take producers about two years to reach full production capacity, however, and growth will depend on the development of individual companies.
Companies likely won’t have trouble finding customers abroad, however. New markets are opening up: notably, Chinese customs authorities recently gave Arctic Fish the green light to export their farmed salmon to the country.
Fish farms catching up to traditional fishing
Producers are already well on their way to reaching the doubled production volume: so far this year, export value of farmed fish has grown by 60% compared to 2018, and now accounts for about 1% of all exports. If prices remain unchanged, the export value of farmed fish is expected to double by 2021, putting it on par with the traditional fishing industry.
While growth in the industry is expected beyond 2021 as well, the Environment Agency has placed limits on how much farmed fish can be produced in individual fjords, and in many locations fish farms are approaching these limits.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will discuss the shareholdings of two Icelandic supreme court justices – specifically whether their losses in the 2008 banking collapse influenced their rulings on bankers. RÚV reports that Ólafur Ólafsson, one of the main owners of now-defunct Kaupþing bank, has sued justices Markús Sigurbjörnsson and Árni Kolbeinsson who ruled in the infamous Al-Thani case in which Ólafur was convicted of market abuse.
Big losses, heavy convictions
The Al-Thani case was one of the most extensive criminal cases in Iceland. The convictions received by the four defendants are also the most heavy ever given for financial crime. In the case, Ólafur and three other executives of Kaupþing were convicted of market abuse for falsifying transactions to keep stock prices high at the bank.
The defendants previously appealed the case to the ECHR, which concluded that Justice Árni Kolbeinsson was not impartial in his ruling due to his son’s work for Kaupþing. Ólafur’s current complaint concerns the two justices’ shareholdings before the banking collapse, which disappeared when Kaupþing declared bankruptcy in 2008.
The ECHR sent a letter to all parties involved in the case earlier this month. In the letter, the Icelandic state is requested to try and reach an agreement with Ólafur. If an agreement is not reached by December 2, the ECHR will continue its deliberations on the case and begin more substantive proceedings.
Four Icelandic authors will represent their country’s literature at the Göteborg (Gothenburg) Book Fair in Sweden this week. Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, Kristín Ómarsdóttir, Ragnar Jónsson, and Sigrún Eldjárn will appear in a diverse program at the fair, which runs from September 26-29.
On Saturday, Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, recipient of the Nordic Literature Prize, talks with the writers Dörte Hansen from Germany and Elin Olofsson from Sweden about when tradition meets modernity and when the progressive meets the conservative in regard to their latest books. Kristín Ómarsdóttir, who is nominated for the Nordic Literature Prize for her book of poetry Spiders in Shop Windows (Kóngulær í sýningargluggum), will read her poetry in the fair’s programme Rum för poesi. Auður Ava and Kristín will also participate in an event hosted by Swedish translator John Swedenmark discussing the imagination and the limitless lyricism of language, where the authors will read from their works.
Ragnar Jónsson will represent Iceland in the fair’s crime fiction programme Crimetime, where he will discuss his work with Lotta Olsson. Ragnar is very popular with Swedish readers, and his book Dimma is on the list of Book of the Year in Sweden and was on the Akademibokhandeln’s bestseller list for three weeks last April. His work Drungi has also been published in Swedish.
Programme for Icelandic Families
Icelander Sigrún Eldjárn will appear in the children’s programme Barnsalongen on Sunday. She is nominated for the Nordic Children’s and Young Adult Literature Prize. Sigrún will discuss her books about Sigurfljóð, which she both writes and illustrates. She will also appear at an event for Icelanders living in Gothenburg on Sunday.
Icelandic Books in the Booth
The fair will also feature a booth selling Icelandic literature in Swedish translation and other languages. The complete programme of the 2019 Göteborg Book Fair can be found on their website.
A White, White Day (Hvítur, hvítur dagur) will be Iceland’s submission for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020. It won the electronic vote on the Icelandic submission to the Oscars by a landslide, voted on by the members of ÍKSA, the Icelandic Film and Television Academy.
Hlynur Pálmason wrote and directed the film, which was world premiered at Cannes International Critic’s Week last May. The film’s star Ingvar E Sigurðsson was awarded the Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award for his acting in A White, White Day. The film will also be Iceland’s submission to the Nordic Council Film Prize and has been longlisted for the European Film Awards.
The film is director Hlynur Pálmason’s second film, following the critically acclaimed 2017 Danish/Icelandic production Winter Brothers.