There has been a significant growth in aquaculture in Iceland and fish farming activities have quadrupled in the last decade. In 2018, the production was 19 thousand tonnes, which is 1.8 thousand tonnes less than in 2017. Turnover in aquaculture was just above 19 billion ISK in 2017 and has been increasing every year. There have been many investments in fish farming in last years and the net worth of the aquaculture businesses was 51% in 2017. The main species are salmon and arctic char. According to Eurostat, Iceland ranks fourth as main salmon producers in Europe and Iceland has the highest production of arctic char.
Aquaculture species and business
The produced amount of farmed fish has quadrupled in the last 10 years and was 19 thousand tonnes in 2018. The main growth has been in breeding of salmon which has increased from 292 tonnes in 2008 to 13.5 thousand tonnes in 2018. Farming of arctic char has been stable in the last decade. Around 5 thousand tonnes were produced in 2018, compared with 3.1 thousand tonnes in 2008. Farming of rainbow trout peaked at 4,600 tonnes in 2017, while the production dropped to 295 tonnes in 2018.
|Table 1 Aquaculture production in Iceland (tonnes of ungutted fish)|
The number of employed persons in aquaculture was 435 in 2017 and the overall revenue in the field was 19.3 billion ISK. The net worth of aquaculture companies has increased significantly in the last few years.
|Table 2 Selected items from financial income statements (billion ISK)|
|0-2-0 No. of employees||164||173||163||217||241||268||306||339||406||435|
|1-1-0 Operating income||2,995||3,447||3,960||4,466||6,220||6,654||9,328||9,588||14,391||19,303|
|1-2-2 Labour costs||-666||-706||-804||-1,103||-1,375||-1,576||-2,169||-2,316||-3,203||-3,689|
|1-8-0 Net profit||-643||131||705||293||44||-83||-378||-1,263||-1,609||-1,534|
|2-1-0 Fixed assets||2,076||2,140||2,820||3,609||5,699||8,554||11,084||11,087||15,266||20,634|
|2-3-1 Long-term liabilities||3,756||2,154||3,599||3,417||4,377||6,278||9,154||10,773||10,707||11,990|
|2-3-2 Short-term liabilities||1,489||2,097||1,476||3,397||4,209||4,374||2,972||4,654||8,795||9,783|
The export value of farmed fish has increased sevenfold in the last 10 years, from 2 billion ISK in 2008 to 13.7 billion ISK in 2017. According to preliminary export data for 2018, the export value may have reduced by 0.7 billion ISK from 2017. In 2018, 95% of salmon was exported whole, 4% as fillets and the rest as live fish and juvenile fish. Of trout, arctic char and rainbow trout, 45% was exported whole and 55% as fillets.
|Table 3 Export value of aquaculture 2008-2018 (tonnes/billion ISK)|
Export of salmon in 2017 was mainly to the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. Arctic char has mainly been exported to the United States, Poland, Japan and Germany.
In comparison with other European countries, the Icelandic aquaculture production was small in 2016. Salmon production is significantly more in France, Ireland, Norway and the UK, while Iceland is the biggest producer of arctic char and Sweden is the next in line.
|Table 4a Salmon farming in Europe 2008-2016 (tonnes)|
|Table 4b Farming of Arctic char in Europe 2008-2016 (tonnes)|