Live Icelandic Cyprine Hits Gourmet Markets Skip to content

Live Icelandic Cyprine Hits Gourmet Markets

Icelandic cyprine (Lat. Arctica islandica), also known as ocean quahog and black clam, is being caught on small boats off Thórshöfn in northeast Iceland and exported live to gourmet markets in Europe. The cyprine is very valuable when sold this way.

Fishing boats in Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Siggeir Stefánsson, production manager of the local seafood company, Ísfélagid, told Morgunbladid that this is an experimental product and that it isn’t easy to export the cyprine live to markets in Europe.

However, a high price can be charged for the cyprine if it is exported this way and even though the company cannot export high quantities at a time, the export is likely to prove profitable, Stefánsson explained. He said a marketing initiative will now be launched.

Additionally, 50 to 60 kilos of the cyprine was sold on the domestic market last summer and offered at specialized seafood restaurants. Stefánsson said he expected domestic sales to continue in cooperation with the company Marbakki.

Originally, cyprine was caught off Thórshöfn for soup production in the United States. The price paid for chopped cyprine wasn’t high enough, Stefánsson said, and the competition with local companies had proven too difficult.

“The product went to the low budget market and it simply didn’t work out,” Stefánsson explained. “However, since we are now producing cyprine for a gourmet market we are optimistic.” Cyprine production has taken place in Thórshöfn since 1996.

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