1,000 Tons of Cod-Equivalents Sold Away from Grímsey Skip to content

1,000 Tons of Cod-Equivalents Sold Away from Grímsey

All shares in the fishing company Sigurbjörn ehf. in Grímsey – Iceland’s northernmost inhabited island – have been sold, RÚV reports. The company has a fishing allowance of 1,000 cod-equivalents (a unit referring to weight and relative value of different fish species on the market), which will disappear from Grímsey.

According to Ólafur Helgi Marteinsson, managing director of Rammi ehf. in Fjallabyggð, Rammi has purchased all the shares in Sigurbjörn ehf. The purchase price is confidential, and the contract is subject to the proviso that the Competition Authority approves the purchase.

Gylfi Gunnarsson, owner of Sigurbjörn ehf. – which has operated three boats and a fish-processing plant on the island – declined to comment. The company employs approximately nine people and has a fishing allowance of 1,040,796 cod-equivalents.

In 2017, the fishing company Borgarhöfði was sold from the island, along with its fishing allowance, which came as a hard blow to inhabitants of Grímsey. At the time, RÚV quoted spokespersons for the two remaining fishing companies in Grímsey – Sigurbjörn ehf. and Sæbjörg ehf. – who assured RÚV that following restructuring of debts their operations were secure (the two companies were in a precarious position owing to mounting debts to Íslandsbanki). The spokespersons added that there was no intention of selling the companies, nor the quota, from the island, for such a thing would likely strike a mortal blow to the settlement in Grímsey, whose principal industrial activity is commercial fishing.

Inhabitants of Grímsey have participated in the Fragile Communities project since the summer of 2015. Reversing the steady emigration from the island has, however, proven unsuccessful. This fall, islanders appealed to the Icelandic Regional Development Institute (which sponsors the Fragile Communities Project) and the town of Akureyri to extend the project. The designated settlement quota that accompanies the project is the prerequisite for fishing operations on the island: the fishing companies are small and operations are difficult. Since 2015, the Icelandic Regional Development Institute has invested 21 million ISK in 18 projects connected to Grímsey. According to a 2018  census, 61 people live in Grímsey.

Rammi ehf. operates four trawlers, a shrimp processing plant in Fjallabyggð, and a freezing plant in Þorlákshöfn. The company employs approximately 250 people.

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