Five ways in which Iceland’s radical new policy will revolutionise salmon farming in the country

The country’s budding salmon farming industry has been under scrutiny of late but is set to be transformed under radical proposals revealed earlier this week. 

Iceland’s Ministry of Food has unveiled a new policy framework for the country’s thriving aquaculture sector.

The draft, unveiled on Wednesday, promises to transform salmon farming in the North Atlantic country.

“It is fundamental that those who profit from the use of the country’s natural resources pay a fair price for it,” said Food, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir.

Here we list five key changes that could transform aquaculture in the country:

  1. Enhanced Oversight:
    • The proposal introduces stricter regulatory controls, with enhanced monitoring and inspections to ensure that salmon farming practices do not negatively impact wild salmon populations or the broader ecosystem.
  2. Resource Utilization Fees:
    • Salmon farming companies will be required to pay fees for the utilization of natural resources. These fees will be determined based on the companies’ performance and prevailing global market prices, potentially increasing operational costs.
  3. Performance-Based Incentives:
    • The introduction of both positive and negative incentives linked to the companies’ operational performance. Investment in risk-mitigation equipment and practices will be encouraged, while penalties will be imposed for environmental damage.
  4. Single Operator Allocation:
    • Each fjord or designated sea area will be allocated to a single operator to ease the investigation of operational anomalies and limit disease spread. Companies must adapt to this new structure by 2028, encouraging accountability within the industry.
  5. Potential Permit Annulments:
    • Permits for sea pen farming could be withdrawn if the operations are found to have significant impacts on wild salmon populations. This measure underscores stricter accountability and could lead to the closure of farms that fail to meet the new environmental standards.

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