Ice Fish Farm: “It is desirable to invest in Iceland”

Iceland recorded a record rise in salmon production in 2021, with that boom continuing throughout this year. Amid a challenging environment globally and, particularly, in specific salmon-producing regions, Iceland could be the potential winner.

While Norway has proposed an aquaculture tax that could cause financial pain for salmon farmers and Chile’s president has waged war on the industry, Ice Fish Farm believes “it is desirable to invest in Iceland, as the government has a clear goal of building up a new industry,” Guðmundur Gíslason, ICE Fish Farm’s CEO, told SalmonBusiness.

“We have a good understanding what is needed to grow. For example, having few companies to be able to use economics of scale, newest equipment and a strong team,” he added.

Growth opportunities
Looking at Ice Fish Farm specifically, the company’s CEO said their own growth was down to investments in smolt stations, which are now delivering more fish. As well as the increased output, Ice Fish Farm is “getting better control of production” with more experience in the industry, he stated.

“Our goal is to continue to grow as this has been positive for all stake holders, more export, more jobs in areas that have no other investments and job creation. For example, this year we have finished a new box factory in Djúpivogur, Iceland. So even though the number of tons will not grow as fast, we’ll see more investments and growth in the industry, such as harvesting, processing, transportation, feed production and many more fields that are getting more attention when we have reach this volume.”

Financial challenges
Ice Fish Farm is optimistic that the financial impact of an ISA outbreak earlier this year will be limited to disappointing Q2 financial results that saw the company report an €8.3 million write-down.

“Currently we have estimated the damage this outbreak has done and taken that cost in with our Q2 results,” Gíslason said. “We expect Q2 was handling the final ISA impact,” he said, stating that the company expects to return to posting a profit in 2023.

Preventing future outbreaks
The outbreak saw the Icelandic fish farm write down biomass worth €10.4 million following the outbreak that hit its harvest volume. The Q2 harvest was ultimately 1,117 tonnes. So, it’s only natural that the fish farmer would work to prevent further outbreaks hampering its performance.

Ice Fish Farm has established production zones, separating generations, vaccinating fish against ISA and monitoring fish health to ensure early detection and minimal impact if an outbreak occurs in future.

Laxar Fiskeldi merger
Ice Fish Farm completed a merger with Laxar Fiskeldi earlier in 2022, with the deal ensuring that the combined companies can start with production zones that will give them a more secure future.

“Smolt production increased, and we have also sold on of our smolt stations, making us 100 percent control of our smolt production and build up. We have huge capacity in big smolts that shorten time in sea and therefore increase usage of our licenses,” Gíslason added.

“We have now combined company, and it is stronger on long term. Expect this will improve performance in the future and bring us lower production cost, due to synergies.”