Arctic Sea Farm employee Steinunn Gudny Einarsdottir on site. Photo: Bernhardur Gudmundsson / Arctic Sea Farm.

Iceland’s Westfjords now an all-ASC area

Icelandic salmon farmers Arnarlax and Arctic Sea Farm have achieved Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification, one of the most stringent environmental certifications in world aquaculture.

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It means that all salmon harvested from the Icelandic Westfjords in 2019 will be ASC certified. Both companies operate at locations in fjords on the Westfjords peninsula. Between them, the companies harvested 6,670 tonnes of salmon in 2018.

“We are very pleased to receive ASC certification. This underlines our commitment to raise our salmon and run our business in a sustainable and responsible way,” said Arnarlax chief executive Kristian Matthiasson in a press release.

While Arnarlax was notified of its first ASC certification before Christmas, neighbouring operator Arctic Sea Farm recently received renewal of the certification which it has held for the last three years.

‘Ahead of the game’

“Achieving ASC status has value for us both because we have environmentally-focused customers, but also because the certification process stretches us to stay ahead of the game in terms of sustainability,” said Artic Sea Farm chief executive Stein Ove Tveiten.

ASC certified farms commit themselves to reducing the impact on local ecosystems in various ways, such as developing and implementing risk assessments to protect birds, marine mammals and vulnerable habitats.

The audit of Arnarlax farms has been carried about by the certification firm bio.inspecta Switzerland.

Arctic Sea Farm, a subsidiary of Arctic Fish, is farming its first generation of salmon after having switched from sea-trout farming which was started eight years ago. Arctic Fish grows its own smolt in a recirculating aquaculture system that is the first of its kind in Iceland and uses hydroelectricity, making the facility one of the most sustainable hatcheries in the world.