The Iceland Food and Veterinary Authority granted Arctic Sea Farm - a subsidiary of Arctic Fish - an operating license for 8,000 tons of salmon and rainbow trout in Ísafjarðardjúp.

The Iceland Food and Veterinary Authority granted Arctic Sea Farm - a subsidiary of Arctic Fish - an operating license for 8,000 tons of salmon and rainbow trout in Ísafjarðardjúp.

Photo: Arctic Fish.

New 8,000-ton salmon and rainbow trout operating license for Arctic Fish

Of the 8,000 tons of rainbow trout and salmon granted in the new license, the maximum biomass of farmed salmon maybe 5,200 tons.

The Iceland Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) granted Arctic Sea Farm - a subsidiary of Mowi-owned Arctic Fish focused on marine aquaculture - an operating license for 8,000 tons of salmon and rainbow trout in Ísafjarðardjúp.

Further good news at the beginning of the year for the Icelandic fish farmer, which started 2024 with the closure of the police investigation into the fish escapes in Patreksfjörður, and just two weeks ago reported that 2023 marked an all-time high in volumes and revenues for the company.

Up to 5,200 tons of salmon

As reported by MAST, Arctic Sea Farm currently already holds an operating license for rainbow trout aquaculture in Ísafjarðardjúp with a maximum biomass of 5,300 tons. The new operating license granted to Arctic Fish's subsidiary allows aquaculture in Ísafjarðardjúp of up to 8,000 tons of rainbow trout and salmon, of which the maximum biomass of farmed salmon can be 5,200 tons.

In its Q4 2023 earnings report, Arctic Fish already informed that an application for 10,100 tons in Ísafjarðardjúp was in progress, of which an 8,000-tons license (MAB) for Ísafjarðardjúp, announced in Q3 by the Food and Veterinary Authority and the Icelandic Environmental Agency (UST) was still pending publication.

"The delay is due to new requirements from the Icelandic government, requiring a risk assessment for sailing routes. The risk assessment has been performed and expected publication is in Q1 2024," the company explained then. Now, MAST declared the license has been granted "in accordance with aquaculture laws."

The decision is still subject to appeal

Regarding these requirements, the Ministry of Fisheries has published assessments of the carrying capacity and genetic risk of aquaculture in Iceland. The carrying capacity of Ísafjarðardjúp in particular is estimated at 30,000 tons, and the genetic risk assessment allows for a maximum biomass of 12,000 tons of farmed salmon in the fjord. In addition, the operation is also subject to an operating license from the Environment Agency.

MAST’s decision to issue the operating license for the Arctic Fish subsidiary can be appealed for one month. The deadline for doing so is March 29. If it makes it through that period without new developments, this new license will be in addition to the license renewal for 7,800 tons (MAB) at Patreks and Tálknafjörður, which MAST and UST announced in Q4, and whose publication is expected to take place in Q1 2024.

Recently, both the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority and the Environment Agency also announced that a license for 10,000 tons of maximum allowable biomass of sterile salmon will be issued to Arnarlax, a wholly owned subsidiary of Icelandic Salmon - itself 51% owned by SalMar -, and a direct competitor of Arctic Fish.

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