Additional funds to prevent fish escapes in Iceland

The Icelandic Environmental Fund of Aquaculture adds almost three-quarters of a million euros to the 2024 call, which already exceeded EUR 1 million in funding.
Salmon farm in Westfjords, Iceland.

Salmon farm in Westfjords, Iceland. The Icelandic Aquaculture Environmental Fund will offer additional allocation to minimize the environmental impact of aquaculture in the country.

Photo: Adobe Stock.

Iceland continues its effort to minimize the environmental impact of aquaculture with a special emphasis on fish escapes prevention. Thus, the Icelandic Aquaculture Environmental Fund announced yesterday it will offer an additional allocation of ISK 111.74 million (EUR 747,440 / USD 803,714) in addition to the ISK 185.7 million (EUR 1.2 million / USD 1.34 million) from the regular call submitted in March whose application deadline was April 5, 2024.

As the Fund states on its website, its objective is "to finance projects that aim to adapt aquaculture in the country to the prevailing environmental conditions and thus minimize the environmental impacts of aquaculture."

Deadline to apply for grants is July 16

Aquaculture companies, individuals, institutions, and legal entities are invited to apply for the Fund's grants whose primary role is to cover the costs of research related to carrying capacity assessments and monitoring. However, depending on the financial resources available, it may also cover the costs of other projects if so determined by the Board, according to the priority focus at any given time.

As it did in the regular call, in this additional allocation for 2024, the Icelandic Aquaculture Environmental Fund Board has remarked that, while it will have the Fund's statutory function as the basis for allocation, it will again give special consideration to "projects aimed at preventing the escape of farmed fish and minimizing the consequences thereof."

The deadline for grants applications is 4:00 PM on July 16, 2024. Once a decision has been made on who the grantees will be, the Fund will publish it on its website. There, interested parties will be able to see not only their names but also the amount of the grants, the title of the projects, and their objectives. The final and progress reports of the projects financed by the Fund will be available on its website too.

More funds for aquaculture and its environment

The focus of these subsidies on preventing the escapement of farmed fish and minimizing its consequences is directly related to Iceland's commitment to sustainability and the environment. When the salmon industry was reactivated in the country in 2004, all production areas were located in the East and West Fjords precisely because there are no salmon rivers in those areas so, in case of an eventual escape, it was avoided that farmed fish could be genetically mixed with wild salmon stocks.

Following the accidental escape of salmon from an Arctic Fish facility in August last year - which was even investigated by the police, although they eventually found there was no basis for further investigation - fish escapes became a source of national debate in the country.  Thus, in October, the Icelandic Parliament approved additional funds of ISK 2.2 billion (EUR 15 billion / USD 15.9 billion) to develop the supervision of the aquaculture industry, especially monitoring by the authorities.

As mentioned, these grants of the Icelandic Aquaculture Environmental Fund, which are now expanding their allocation, are intended instead to help aquaculture companies, individuals, institutions, and legal entities in this work of preventing fish escapes or minimizing their impact in case they occur.

Recently Iceland also announced its Aquaculture Fund allocations for 2024 in which a total of ISK 437.2 million (EUR 2.9 million - USD 3.1 million) was awarded for sixteen projects in seven municipalities to contribute to their ability to meet the growing demands of residents and economic activities in line with increased marine aquaculture activity.

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