Björk Enlists Rosalía in Campaign Against Fish Farming in Iceland

Singer Björk

Björk and Rosalía are releasing a song to protest against Icelandic aquaculture, coinciding with a related public demonstration on October 7. Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries proposed a stricter legal framework to mitigate the industry’s environmental impact on Wednesday.

Proceeds going towards the fight against aquaculture

Björk has partnered with Spanish singer Rosalía in the fight against aquaculture in Iceland; the pair has announced the release of a song in October, and Björk encourages all Icelanders to attend a protest against fish farming at Austurvöllur Square in Reykjavík on Saturday, October 7. Icelandic musician Bubbi is also set to perform. The two artists plan to use the proceeds from the song to support locals in legal cases against aquaculture companies.

“I want to release a song that Rosalía and I wrote together. The proceeds will go towards the fight against aquaculture in Iceland. The song will be released in October,” Björk stated in an announcement on Instagram, where she also shared a snippet from the song.

As previously noted, a protest against aquaculture is scheduled for Saturday, October 7. Seven associations are organising the protest, stating that it’s “now or never for the wild salmon.” Mbl.is reported yesterday that Björk would appear at Saturday’s protest alongside Rosalía.

Survival of wild salmon under threat

In her Instagram post, Björk stated that Iceland had the largest untouched wilderness in Europe, observing that in the summer “sheep have roamed free in the mountains” and “fish have swum unrestricted in rivers, lakes, and fjords.”

Given the pristine state of Iceland’s nature, it was a “big shock” when Icelandic and Norwegian businessmen started setting up fish farms in the majority of Iceland’s fjords, according to Björk. She went on to explain that she and others were at a loss at how these farms had been operated for the better part of a decade without any regulatory framework or legislation.

“This has already had a devastating effect on wildlife,” Björk observed, stating that the farmed fish had suffered in “horrid health conditions,” noting that many of them had escaped into local streams, potentially spelling the extinction of wild salmon in Iceland.

“There is still a chance to save the last wild salmon of the north!” Björk stated. She also urged the aforementioned companies to cease their operations and expressed her desire to help implement new laws and regulations in the Icelandic legal environment to protect nature. The protests at Austurvöllur were about transforming the will of the people into law, she concluded by saying.

Draft of stricter policy presented

As reported by IR yesterday, the Minister of Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir presented the draft of a new legal framework for fish farming in Iceland on Wednesday. The draft proposes increased monitoring of fish farms and requiring licence holders to pay “a fair price” for the use of natural resources. Escaped salmon from open-net fish farms in the Westfjords have been found in rivers across Northwest Iceland and the Westfjords in recent weeks, threatening the survival of the country’s wild salmon.

Open-net fish farming in Icelandic waters has grown more than tenfold between 2014 and 2021. Yearly production rose from under 4,000 tonnes to nearly 45,000 tonnes over this period. More than 99% of that production was farmed salmon.