Closely linked with the Norwegian Egersund Group and based at Eskifjörður on the east coast of Iceland, Egersund Ísland's main activity has been in purse seine and pelagic trawl gear – but they have been increasingly expanding into the serving the needs of the growing aquaculture sector in Iceland.
A NoK 20 million investment has gone into washing facilities for salmon cages, while the existing net loft is used for cage repair and maintenance. The new washing station, which is already is use, is complemented by an additional facility used to dye the cages before they are taken back into use and this last stage of the process is expected to be operational this summer."Iceland has adopted the Norwegian standards for salmon aquaculture. These are the most demanding standards anywhere in the world and the success of Norway's aquaculture sector demonstrates how effective these strict standards are," he said, adding that the washing station also sterilises the cages before they are checked and any repairs carried out.
In line with these standards, the largest single cost in running the cage servicing facility is that of cleaning the run-off water from the washing process, as this has to be clean before disposal.
Expanding into the aquaculture sector is expected to stabilise the company's workload as much of its activity is centred around fishing seasons."Working with pelagic fishing gear means we see huge fluctuations. We have months that are just crazy there's so much that needs to be done – and the following month can be quiet. The aquaculture sector is also seasonal, but a cage that's taken out of the water in the autumn is often not needed again until the following spring, so that allows us to smooth out the peaks and troughs in the workload."
He commented that while there are a number of companies handling aquaculture gear, Egersund Ísland's investment in this puts them significantly ahead in this field.
"We are the only ones who have invested on such a scale," Benedikt Stefánsson said. "We have seen salmon farming take off in Iceland in the past, but this time it's different. There's a stability there this time and we see this as an industry that is here for the long term."
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