Environmental purity and sustainable management policies give Iceland unique advantages as a supplier of raw materials to food processing industries where natural quality counts above all else. Historically, Iceland's main livelihood has always been as a food-producing nation, and by keeping up-to-date with both new technology and consumer demands in the international marketplace, its diverse export-orientated food sector makes an attractive proposition for investors who want to go straight in at the high end of the market. Food is the most important industry in Iceland, accounting forhalf of the country's industrialproduction, one-fifth of its GDP and more than 80% of its merchandise exports one of the highest levels in the world. Iceland therefore has the facilities and services needed by food processing companies.
Seafood and Food Manufacturing in Iceland
The living marine resources in Icelandic waters constitute the backbone to Icelands economy. In recent years, total Icelandic catches have ranged from 1,5 to 2,1 million tonnes. The total catch by the Icelandic fleet was 1,724,000 tonnes in 2004 a decrease from 1,980,000 tonnes in 2003 or 14,85% decrease between the two years. In 2003 Iceland was the 12th largest fishing nation in the world with around 2% of world catches. Total export values of Marine products from Iceland state approximately the same between 2003 and 2004 came in with around ISK 113 billion or 62% of total export of goods and just over 42% for goods and services.
The natural quality of fish from Iceland is proverbial in the seafood world. Careful resource management policies have succeeded in securing high, sustainable yields from what are some of the richest and cleanest fishing grounds in the world, at the same time as many other nations' fish stocks have been in decline. Strict quality awareness throughout the industry, widespread worker skills in fish processing, expert management, high levels of technology, a flourishing support sector in equipment manufacture and services, sales and marketing know-how - in combination, these make Iceland an ideal location for secondary (value-added) processing of seafood and other marine products, with all resources developed at hand.
Food and Beverages from Iceland
Food and beverages is one of the main categories under manufacturing products. It accounts for approximately 1,2 % of the total export value for all manufacturing productsfrom Iceland. In 2003, export of food and beverages was 6 million tonnes which accounted for ISK 1,600 million, of thatseafood products were ISK 1,300 millionbut other products were insignificant.
Icelandic Spring Water
One manufacturing product that Icelanders have exported in limited numbersisbottled Icelandic spring water. In Iceland virtually all freshwater sources are unrivalled for their levels of purity and freedom from contaminants. Spring water has been used in production of a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Water is an ample resource in Iceland and much cheaper than anywhere else in Europe.
Agriculture Productsfrom Iceland
Iceland's staple meat is lamb, still farmed the traditional way, which conforms to the very latest in organic production standards. Sheep graze freely in pollution-free mountain areas in summer, and hormone implants and antibiotic feed additives are both prohibited. Icelandic Lamb has been exported on a limited scale for some years, mainly to the USA and Northern Europe. Dairy farming is another segment in Iceland, with a high level of product development and innovation, a strong reputation for purity and wholesomeness, and extensive use of quality systems. Vegetables are also cultivated on a scale that would seem unthinkable in such a northerly country - using geothermal heating in greenhouses.
In 2003, agricultural products from Iceland amounted for ISK 3,500 million or approximately 1,9% of total export of goods from Iceland. The industry is therefore fractional of total export from Iceland. Fish farming was the largest commodity in this sector with ISK 1,400 million or approximately 41%. Products of farm animal came next with ISK 1,300 million or approximately 38%.
Aquaculture Products from Iceland
Aquaculture has been a small scale industry in Iceland since the 1980s; high potential exists in Iceland for developing both land- and sea-based farming. Major advantages include ample supplies of clean fresh water and economical geothermal water for heating, which means that farming of warm-water species, is equally viable, for example abalone, sea bass and turbot.
One of the key advantages of aquaculture in Iceland is the virtually disease-free environment. It is the only country in Europe to be A-graded nationwide according to EU regulations. Know-how is very advanced in the industry, as shown by the success achieved in hatching, smolt and fingerling production and rearing of difficult species such as halibut. The increase in ocean temperature is also a positive impact on aquaculture.
In recent years, major fisheries companies have moved into aquaculture and investing in salmon and troutfarming and in research on cod farming.In 2003, Iceland produced 3,5 million tonnes compared with 1,8 million tonnes in 2002.
Farmed salmon production is the largest aquaculture exportfrom Iceland and hasscarcely increased. In 2002 Iceland produced around 1,1 million tonnes, amounted for ISK 671 million. Global productionwas though over 1 million tonnes, of which Norway produced 430,000 tonnes. Iceland is therefore still a minor player on the salmon farming market but Icelandic companies plan a further expansion in the next few years.
The second largest Icelandic farming export for the year 2002was farmed trout with 583 thousand tonnes, amounted for ISK 330 million. Other farming exports including turbots and halibutwere limited with around 115 thousand tonnes, amounted for ISK 191 million. Experiment with mussel aquaculture and rearing spotted wolf fish have started and could become an export items in the further.
Icelandic aquaculture has been increasing in Iceland and should expand significantly in the future. The ministry of Fisheries forecasts that in 2012 the export value of aquaculture will be ISK 36,000 million, up from ISK 1,400 million in 2003.
Websites Related to Seafoodand Food Manufacturing in Iceland
Information Centre of the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries. This Information Centre describes the policy and practices in the Icelandic fisheries relating to these aims and achievements in recent years.
The Ministry of Fisheries
The Icelandic Directorate of Fisheries is a public body responsible to the Ministry of Fisheries. Its task is continuous monitoring of compliance to the laws and regulations covering various aspects of fisheries.
Brochures Related to Seafoodand Food Manufacturing in Iceland
Close to Sea(1,15 MB)
A brochure published by the Ministry of Fisheries.
The Ocean Icelands policy(2,75 MB)
A brochure published by the Ministry of Fisheries.
Icelandic Fisheries in Figures 2004(3,34 MB)
A brochure published by the Ministry of Fisheries. The brochureincludes various statistic information regarding Icelandic Fisheries.
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