Jamie Oliver Stirs Controversy in Iceland over Aquaculture


News | Iceland Monitor | Tue 25 Apr 2017

Jamie Oliver causes stir in Iceland over salmon

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver will be opening a restaurant in Reykjavik centre in the coming month. In preparation for the new restaurantís opening Jamie posted this picture on social media of fish pens in where the salmon served in the restaurant will be harvested.

Many expressed their unhappiness with Jamieís choice to go for farmed salmon in comments on the picture, asking the chef to reconsider his choice. Amongst those criticizing him were well known Icelandic anglers.

Angling associations in Iceland have been fighting fish farming in pens in the ocean for many years. They believe they pose a threat to the Icelandic population of wild Atlantic salmon. The fish farmed in Iceland is of a breed not indigenous to Iceland and they fear for the effect of diseases, fish lice, and more. A number of cases where farmed fish has escaped into Icelandic nature have been recorded.

Plans to increase fish farming in Iceland

Iceland Marine Research Institute estimates that Iceland can produce 200.000 tons a year, if all viable fjords are used for the farming. The production today is only a fraction of this, but there are plans to increase permits for fish farming in pens in the ocean.

Angling associations have expressed concern about this. Most of the pens are located in the West Fjords, and so are what are considered to be some if Icelandís best rivers for salmon fishing.

Catching salmon has been a popular sport in Iceland for decades. Today itís a rapidly growing part of the tourist industry in Iceland, the income is estimated to be 1.7 billion ISK each year and the price for a day of angling has risen much over the last years.