The crew of catfish boat Steinunn SF was surprised to find a live four-meter long Greenland shark in its bottom trawl in the upper Jökuldýpi southwest of Snaefellsnes peninsula in west Iceland last week.
Shark is served at mid-winter feasts. Photo by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.
“It is among the larger animals I have seen of this species,” captain Saevar Ólafsson, told Morgunbladid. “It isn’t common to catch such a shark in this area.”
“It was alive and kicking in the trawl but we […] hoisted it onto the deck and put it to the side so it wouldn’t get in our way,” Ólafsson said.
“Thorrablót [mid-winter feast] and other events are ahead and it isn’t unlikely that a few shots of brennivín will be downed with this beast,” he added in explanation as to why they had decided to bring the shark ashore.
The shark weighed nearly 600 kilos. “It was full of all sorts of animals, a lot of fish and half a seal pup which it had swallowed. These are vicious creatures,” the captain commented.
“The shark has probably arrived in Bjarnarhöfn now where it will be processed. I spoke with Hildibrandur […] and he didn’t want the shark to be cut. He was expecting two groups of tourists and wanted to show it to them,” Ólafsson concluded.
Hildibrandur Bjarnason, ‘shark farmer’ at Bjarnarhöfn in Helgafellssveit between Grundarfjördur and Stykkishólmur, welcomes tourists to his farm. He gives them a taste of shark and guides them around the area. There is also a museum at Bjarnarhöfn.
The farmland has historic significance and there is also a noteworthy wooden church built in 1857 on the land, which is one of the few so-called ‘farm churches’ left in the country, according to an article from Morgunbladid’s archives.