An Arnarlax fish farm. The company is hopeful that its capacity will be increased by 42% to 33,700 tonnes of MAB.

Arnarlax closes in on extra 10,000 tonnes of capacity

Regulators begin consultation on proposed licence for sterile salmon in Icelandic fjord


Iceland salmon farmer Arnarlax today said it had been informed that the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) and Environment Agency of Iceland (UST) have advertised a licence to be issued to Arnarlax in Ísafjarðardjúp in Iceland’s Westfjords.

The licence will be for 10,000 tonnes maximum allowed biomass (MAB) of sterile salmon.

“This announcement marks another a significant milestone for us. It has been a long process, and we are glad to see our application now moving forward towards the finishing line. We are excited about the future and ready to utilise this opportunity for further sustainable growth,” said chief executive Bjørn Hembre.

Final decision by May

A consultation on the proposed licence is open until April 2 on the MAST website, and the UST website. Icelandic Salmon said that during the consultation period, comments and feedback are invited, and may result in modifications or withdrawal of the licence. The formal and final decision will follow up to four weeks after the end of the consultation period.

With the new 10,000-tonnes licence, Arnarlax will have licences for a maximum allowed biomass of 33,700 tonnes, divided into 23,700 tonnes of fertile salmon in Arnarfjörðup, Patreks and Tálknafjörðup, and 10,000 tonnes of sterile salmon in Ísafjarðardjúp.

Non-fertile fish

“This is a new operating licence that allows up to 10,000 tons of maximum biomass of barren salmon at any given time,” explains MAST on its website.

“The Norwegian Marine Research Institute’s carrying capacity assessment assumes a maximum biomass of 30,000 tonnes, and the Institute’s risk assessment assumes 12,000 tonnes of fertile salmon in Ísafjarðardjúp.

“Arnarlax applied for a maximum biomass of 10,000 tonnes of both fertile and non-fertile salmon, but since the Norwegian Food Agency has already allocated a maximum biomass of 12,000 tonnes of fertile salmon in Ísafjarðardjúp, the agency will only allow the farming of non-fertile salmon in the said operating permit.”

Arnarlax is a subsidiary of Icelandic Salmon, which is majority owned (51.02%) by Norwegian company SalMar, the world’s second largest Atlantic salmon farmer. SalMar also owns a 50% share in Scottish Sea Farms.