2023 Iceland Airwaves Music Festival Kicks Off

Iceland Airwaves

 

The official programme of the Iceland Airwaves music festival begins today in Reykjavík. The year’s festival features a lineup of 100 acts, including the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Daði Freyr, and Hatari.

Bombay Bicycle Club, Daði Freyr, Hatari

The official programme of the Iceland Airwaves music festival kicks off today (a few off-venue performances took place yesterday), maintaining its nearly unbroken tradition since 1999 of presenting both established and emerging musical talents in Reykjavík. Held across multiple venues in downtown Reykjavík, the festival allows attendees to traverse short distances to experience a range of musical genres.

The lineup this year comprises various performers including Bombay Bicycle Club, Daði Freyr, and Hatari, alongside other international and local artists like Andy Shauf, Anjimile, Trentemøller, Mugison, and Bríet, bringing the total to 100 acts scheduled to perform throughout the festival.

Iceland Review has profiled some of the artists that will be performing at the festival this year, including Bríet, Mugison, and Önnu Jónu Son.

In addition to on-venue concerts, interested parties who have not secured a wristband can also attend various off-venue performances free of charge. For further information regarding tickets and the schedule, visit the festival’s official website.

“Iceland Airwaves shines a light on new talent, and is the place where you can discover new music, see your favourite artist play, and enjoy a unique festival experience within the backdrop of Iceland’s nature and Reykjavík’s renowned cultural atmosphere.”

Sea Lice Outbreak Claims At Least 1 Million Salmon in Tálknafjörður

Tálknafjörður

An unprecedented outbreak of sea lice in Tálknafjörður has led to the loss, or the need to dispose of, at least one million salmon, affecting local aquaculture firms and prompting the procurement of foreign treatment vessels for the non-medicinal treatment of lice. The Iceland Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) will review the incident with the involved companies to devise future preventive measures, amidst ongoing investigations into the source of the infestation.

One million salmon perished or discarded

At least one million salmon have perished or been discarded due to an uncontrollable outbreak of sea lice in Tálknafjörður in the southern Westfjords. Speaking to Heimildin, Karl Steinar Óskarsson, Head of the Aquaculture Department at the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), stated that “no one had seen a sea lice infestation spread like this before.” The outbreak is currently affecting the fish pens of Arctic fish and Arnarlax in Tálknafjörður.

“That’s why they’re all being discarded. Nobody has seen anything like this before. There is a Norwegian veterinarian who has been working in Iceland because of this and he has never seen anything like this in his 30-year career,” Karl Steinar observed.

Karl Steinar added that there was no confirmed information on how the sea lice got into the fish pens operated by the aquaculture companies. Investigators are examining whether wild salmon transmitted the sea lice. However, nothing can be asserted in that regard at the moment.

Bacterial infection compounding lice problem

A press release published on the Food and Veterinary Authority’s website yesterday noted that upon examining the fish from Tálknafjörður it had been discovered that environmental bacteria were infecting the lice-induced wounds, making them significantly worse.

“These wounds lead to a loss in the fish’s ability to maintain essential ion balance in the body. In Tálknafjörður, this caused a portion of the fish to fall ill in a short amount of time. The fish that are now being discarded will be rendered and, among other uses, will contribute to fur animal feed. The fish will not be used for human consumption.”

MAST stated that it would review the incident with the companies, once operations are concluded, to suggest ways to limit such occurrences in the future.

Proliferation of sea lice in Patreksfjörður

The press release further notes that salmon farming companies in the southern part of the Westfjords have struggled to control the proliferation of sea lice in the fish pens in Patreksfjörður since last spring.

Since then, the Food and Veterinary Authority has recommended the concerned companies procure, as soon as possible, foreign treatment vessels for non-medicinal treatment of lice. This includes freshwater treatment, thermal treatment, and flushing. Such treatments kill the lice with little or no environmental impact.

As noted by MAST, efforts were made by the companies in the fall to bring treatment vessels to Iceland, but it seems that the demand for such vessels required more foresight, as they were in high demand. It was not possible to bring a vessel to the country until mid-October. MAST maintains that such a vessel must be stationed in the Westfjords from May through October every year, which is what the companies aim to do, starting in the spring of 2024.

PM: Communication Failure Hampered Gaza Truce Resolution

Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir

The Icelandic government has faced criticism for abstaining from a UN vote on a truce in Gaza due to a failed amendment condemning Hamas. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir expressed regret over the lack of support for the resolution and admitted that communication between ministries was inadequate.

A controversial abstention

Last Friday, Iceland abstained from voting on a UN resolution calling for an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce in Gaza. The reason for the abstention was that an amendment to the resolution – proposed by Canada and backed by over 35 Member States, which sought to include an explicit condemnation of Hamas – failed to pass.

Iceland’s abstention faced immediate criticism at home. A professor of political science told RÚV that it was “yet another example of how divided the parties within Iceland’s governing coalition were.” Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir told the media that she had not been consulted, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pushing back against this claim, maintaining that the Prime Minister’s Office had been notified before the vote.

A failure of communication

Speaking from a Nordic Council session in Oslo yesterday, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir addressed, among other things, the statements that have been exchanged between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the vote. In her interview, Katrín emphasised that Iceland’s abstention was not to be interpreted as opposition to the main objective of the resolution: a ceasefire in Gaza and humanitarian aid to the region. On the contrary,  she would have voted for a compromise.

In an interview with Vísir yesterday, Katrín observed: “I would have preferred that we seek ways to support the resolution even though it was not exactly as we would have liked. We, of course, voted for Canada’s amendment – but I would have liked to explore ways to support this resolution,” Katrín stated, noting that Norway, as the one Nordic country that approved the proposal, had chosen an alternative different path.

Katrín also admitted that communication between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry could have been better: “Clearly, the ministries should have communicated better beforehand on this issue, but events can unfold rapidly. Nonetheless, my stance on the matter remains unchanged.”

“No one really consulted me on this; that’s just how I see it,” Katrín stated. “This problem isn’t going away, and our conversations should really centre on that – especially given the terrible daily toll on civilian lives.”

Iceland’s vote in line with its foreign policy

Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson told RÚV yesterday that he, in his capacity as the leader of a governing party, had not been consulted on the vote in the United Nations General Assembly.

Bjarni observed that Iceland’s stance had been in line with the country’s foreign policy and in harmony with the majority of European nations and that of all the Nordic countries, with the exception of Norway.