Matorka to resume harvesting, but Grindavík processing facility still inaccessible

WeAreAquaculture asked Matorka CEO Christo du Plessis about the latest developments after the company's land-based arctic char farm suffered earthquake damage in recent days.
Matorka facilities in Grindavik, Iceland.
Matorka facilities in Grindavik, Iceland. Photo: Matorka.

WeAreAquaculture contacted Matorka CEO Christo du Plessis to ask how the company and staff are faring, after news that earthquakes have damaged Matorka's arctic char farming facility in Grindavík, Iceland.

The port town of Grindavík has been evacuated following hundreds of earthquakes due to volcanic activity in the Reykjanes Peninsula, south-west Iceland.

In addition to its fish farming facility which remains operational, Matorka also has a processing plant in the town, which is currently inaccessible due to the ongoing situation.

Du Plessis told WeAreAquaculture that the company is "focused on normalizing operations and continued fish welfare" and that despite significant damage to one tank, Matorka has managed to save the vast majority of the fish in their land-based facility.


How do you see the situation developing over the next few days?


"In the absence of new earthquakes or an eruption in the vicinity, we will continue with essential repairs and fish movements as well as regular farming operations. We are making plans to resume harvesting but processing will be at 3rd parties as our own processing facility is in Grindavík which is still inaccessible."


Can you tell us any details about the damage sustained to the facility?


"We have suffered a varying degree of structural damage to a handful of our concrete on-growing tanks, but it is too early quantify this damage as we are focused on normalizing operations and continued fish welfare. We are still able to use some of these tanks. We have lost a number of fish due to severe damage to one tank but managed to save the vast majority in the rest of the facility."


How are the staff holding up under stressful circumstances? Do you have any staff that have been evacuated from their homes?


"All staff that were living in Grindavík were safely evacuated and have found temporary accommodation. The events and its implications are extremely stressful for all our staff, but specially so for residents of Grindavík. There has been substantial damage to parts of the town and it is still unclear when life might return to normal as land subsidence is still taking place. We are in contact with our staff to offer support where possible."

"We are extremely grateful for all offers of support received as well as condolences. The aquaculture and Icelandic communities have been incredible."

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