Construction on what is to become the country’s largest fish farm on land is begun, a short distance from Þorlákshöfn in southern Iceland, RÚV reports. The fish farm could produce over 20,000 tonnes of salmon per year and create around 150 jobs. Three more companies plan to start fish farming on land in the area, which requires a great deal of energy.
Landeldi is owned by six Icelanders, one of whom is Ingólfur Snorrason. He told RÚV that an environmental impact assessment for 6.000-tonne annual production has already been approved but that the company intends to increase their production to 20,000 tonnes before long. He stated that export to the US market was under consideration and that the fish farm could create around 150 jobs in the area. “We’ve started production. We have a spawning centre close to Hveragerði where we have around 800,000 roe and young fish. Let’s call it our first generation.” He added that the fish will have grown large enough to be slaughtered and sold by the end of next year.
While fish farming in sea pens has been criticised for its environmental impact, fish farming in tanks on land eliminates many problems such as the possibility of farmed salmon mixing with wild fish and pollution from waste gathering on the ocean floor. Such operations require more energy but Landeldi claims that Iceland’s geothermal energy can keep the production carbon-neutral.
This is not the only fish farm on land planned in and around Þorlákshöfn as three other companies intend to start such a business, Fiskifréttir reported earlier this month. Þorlákshöfn Mayor Elliði Vignisson stated that companies like this required a lot of energy and that he believed the government should ensure that energy prices for environmentally friendly food production should be lower. A fish farm on land capable of producing 20,000 tonnes of fish requires around 120-megawatt hours per year.