A new web for shell culture in Iceland:

Iceland Mussel 2007

Blue Mussel conference at Hotel KEA on the 12. of January 2007.

Opportunities and future prospects of a new seafood industry for Iceland

A conference about the possibilities and prospects of mussel farming in Iceland will be held on the 12th of January 2007 at Hotel KEA, Akureyri. Sessions will begin at 09:30. Officials, scientists and representatives from the shellfish industry in Canada will introduce the methods used in Canada and discuss the possibilities this industry has here in Iceland. There will also be a specialist from Germany to present information regarding market conditions and prospects for the European market. The final agenda will be announced on the website ‘www.skelraekt.is’.

For accomodation and travel look up the sites:
http://www.icelandair.com for international flights
http://www.flugfelag.is for domestic flights
http://www.nordurland.is for accomodation in the Akureyri area.

Icelandic Pioneers in shellfish aquaculture have been working through the developmental phase of this industry for several years. They have visited mussel farms and harvesting and distribution companies on the east and the west side of the Atlantic. By visiting these companies, they have been looking for the methods that best suit Icelandic conditions.

The Canadians have made remarkable progress, especially on Prince Edward Island. PEI mussel producers grow 23,000 tons annually and 2,500 of the 140,000 inhabitants make their living from this industry. In 2004, PEI produced 20,000 tons of mussels which generated 107 million s CAD in sales revenue, with approximately 24 million CAD going directly to the growers.

Conference Speakers

  • Dr Jeffrey Davidson, University of Prince Edward Island

  • Tom Brown, Memorial University of St John´s Newfoundland

  • Cyr Couturier, Memorial University of St John’s, Newfoundland

  • Kent Ferguson, GoDeep International Ltd, Canada

  • Tracy Granter, Memorial University of St John´s, Newfoundland

  • Rogers Riggs, Icelandic Group

  • Bjorn Theodorsson, Aquaculture specialist

  • Michael Watts, Consultant, Shetland Islands

  • Tomas Ingvason, Polar import-export, Germany

  • Brian Fenker, Mussel grower, Greenland.

  • Jon Baldvinsson, Icelandic Shell Culture Association.

  • Vidir Bjornsson, Nordurskel ehf, Iceland

Gary Rogers mussel grower from Prince Edward Island and Jose Ramos manager of Marine department at Cotesi, Portugal will attend the conference as consultants.

Blue mussel farming is an industry that can help small villages on the coasts of the North Atlantic. It is an environmentally friendly method of food production, producing top quality shellfish. Mussel growth takes place without external feeding or disturbance of local ecosystems in culture sites. In fact, this is organic production at its best, occurring within the oceans biosphere.

The Blue Shell will be grown in good conditions only, which means grown in sites free from many types of pollution. The Icelandic fjords offer a purity, which is getting ever harder to find along the coasts of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Support for the development of mussel aquaculture has been important for small, scattered coastal populations, which have experienced decline in the past few years. For example: Small villages on the east coast of Canada have been struggling after the collapse of the fish stocks. The Canadian government decided to support the mussel growing industry in hopes of it helping to save these villages and it has worked. Mussel aquaculture is now an established industry that has filled the gaps made by the collapse of the cod fishing industry.

In countries where the industry has blossomed, one can clearly see the multiplier effect. Mussel culture also provides opportunities for cooperation with related businesses, such as tourism. In fact, the industry is especially practical for several coastal regions where related facilities and equipment exist but are not being used to the full extent. This industry has great potential in Icealand and is limited only by the lack of knowledge and finance for development.

“Norðurskel” is a company in Hrísey that has developed mussel farming for the past six years. A lot has happened in that period and massive experience and knowledge has been concentrated there. The company has invested in design and development of equipment and methods suitable for Icelandic conditions.Nordurskel has survived the treacherous start-up period that every new industry faces.(see. www.skel.is) The keen eyes of other grower still in start up position are on Norðurskel, eagerly waiting to use its results to support their business plans.

The results from Norðurskel can be used for other growers around Iceland. Over the past two years, the growers association ‘SKELRAEKT’ and the leading Icelandic grower ‘Norðurskel’ have received scientists and growers from Canada, who have evaluated the environment in Eyjafjörður, (North Iceland).The results can be used as a standard for many fjords in Iceland.

The uniqueness we Icelanders have regarding this product:

  • A-rating of EU authorities for culture environment. ( A -rating is rarely given to European culture areas due to increased pollution and higher density of coastal industries and growing cities).
  • Meat yield 30-55% of shell weight (minimum yield for EU market is 21%).
  • Spat collection is good everywhere it has been tried. In other countries it is often difficult or even impossible to collect larvae in the culture area.
  • Fouling and parasites are a very limited problem compared to other countries. Trossolus is not present.
  • The taste and texture has been rated top quality

The conference will be open for all domestic parties i.e. representatives from the local communities, government officials, scientists and future growers. At the conference, you will have access to domestic and foreign specialists in this area who will try to answer any questions that may come up regarding these matters.

For more information, visit www.skelraekt.is .If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jon Baldvinsson (jonbald@skelraekt.is) pn: (+354) 861 7349 or Gunnar Pall Halfdansson (gunnarpall@skelraekt.is) pn: (+354) 662 1570.