Iceland MPs on Norway fact finder

AS Iceland gears up to expand its aquaculture sector, a group from the country’s parliament, the Althingi, has just completed a fact finding mission to study how the Norwegians successfully developed their own industry according to
Eleven members of the parliamentary employment committee had been in Bergen for the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) last week and, after sitting in at the various lectures on aquaculture, left the conference to see how a fish farm actually operates.
Two years ago, the Icelandic government produced an interim report on which areas of the country future growth in aquaculture should be concentrated, but a final draft is still awaited.
Fish farming also continues to be an issue which sharply divides opinion in Iceland.
The group, comprising six women and five men, visited one of the lesser known, family owned salmon and trout businesses, some 30 miles outside Bergen, before going on to look at a feed station and at sea farming operations and research bodies.
They also asked about challenges such as sea lice and coping in the future with climate change.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, Lilja Rafney Magnúsdóttir, said she thought the visit would come in useful when future legislation on aquaculture is discussed at parliamentary committee level.
‘I think the trip has been particularly informative because we have been able to learn about what the Norwegians have done well, as well as understanding how to avoid some of the problems they have faced.’
Meanwhile, Iceland’s fisheries minister, Kristján Þór Júlíusson, said he plans to hold a seminar later this week on the genetic risks involving farmed salmon and wild salmon stocks, taking in the views of scientists, aquaculture companies and sports fishing groups.


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