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.