Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Nature

Newly founded Icelandic Wildlife Fund hopes to limit expansion of salmon farming

By Staff

  • The traquility of the Westfjords A newly founded conservationist group hopes to push back on lobbying by Norwegian multinationals which have plans for industrial scale salmon farming in the Westfjords. Stefán Karlsson

A newly founded Icelandic Wildlife Fund (IWF) intends to fight plans to dramatically increase the salmon farming industry in Iceland. A broad group of conservationists established the fund to fight for the protection of Icelandic nature, especially fjords and rivers which are threatened by industrial scale salmon farming in sea cages.

Salmon farming a threat to Icelandic nature
Expansion of salmon farming in sea cages in Icelandic fjords threatens unique wild populations of salmon, Arctic char and brown trout. Conservationists argue that farmed salmon which escapes the pens has a different genetic make-up than the natural species.

Hesteyri - sea cages

Hesteyri, with and without sea cages Among the places where salmon farming firms hope to install sea cages are abandoned fjords in Hornstrandir and other sparsely populated fjords in the Westfjords. Photo/IWF

Sea cages are also breeding grounds for diseases which can infect natural stocks, while pollution from salmon farming threatens delicate ecosystems.

Sea cages destroy tranquility of fjords
Others have argued sea pens have a dramatic negative impact on the view, destroying the feeling of untouched wilderness which makes Icelandic landscapes unique. Conservationists are especially concerned that sea cages are being placed in narrow and sparsely inhabited fjords. Current plans envision a large number of new farms in the Westfjords.

"The nature and natural quality of Iceland is facing a large threat from companies which plan to establish large scale salmon farming or to dramatically expand farms with current sea cages around the shores of Iceland."

A statement from the Icelandic Wildlife Fund points out that among the companies whose plans threaten Icelandic nature are big Norwegian multinationals which "have been guilty of environmental disasters around the world." 

"These businesses spend large sums of money lobbying politicians, both on the local and national level. We must push back and defend the nature and ecosystem of Iceland."

 

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