Value creation in Icelandic aquaculture




Gunnar Þórðarson and Sigurjón Arason

Supported by:

AVS Fisheries Research Fund / Food Fund


Gunnar Þórðarson

Regional Manager

This report reports on the progress and main results of the research and innovation project "Value creation in Icelandic aquaculture", which was partly financed by the AVS Research Fund in the Fisheries Industry/Food Fund. In this project, an effort was made to reduce costs and increase the value of digestate production from side streams of aquaculture, where in particular attention was paid to reducing transport costs, by processing the digestate more, removing fish oil and water from it, which reduces volume and weight during transport. and gives the opportunity to work it into more expensive products.

Salmon farming in Iceland is growing rapidly, and if all plans go according to plan, salmon farming in the sea will reach 90 thousand tons within a few years. The resulting side streams could therefore exceed 20 thousand tons per year. There are also countless wildfires in Iceland, but big plans are underway in Ölfus, Vestmannaeyjar and Reykjanes, where there is discussion about the production of over 100 thousand tons of salmon.

Side streams in aquaculture are mostly divided into two categories, ie. K2, which is a fish that dies by itself in pens, and K3, which is offal that occurs during slaughter, as well as heads, spines and trimmings that occur during processing. Raw materials from K2 may not be processed for human consumption or feed for animals raised for human consumption, and therefore the markets for pet or fur animals must be considered. However, K3 can go into production for human consumption or in the feed of animals consumed by humans.

With increased fish farming, we can expect a large increase in side raw materials in the coming years, and it is therefore important to find ways to ensure environmentally friendly processing methods and at the same time to improve value creation in the processing of these side streams. In this project, at first glance, the production of flour and fish oil from these side streams, but such processing did not cover the costs. But the main reason for this was the high cost of transporting the raw material, which is mostly water, as well as the difficulty of storage due to rapid spoilage processes.

Therefore, the production of smelt was considered and the possibilities of improving value creation and reducing costs, especially during transport, were examined. Melta is a low-cost product, but by further processing it, extracting fish oil from it and then distilling 60% from the water, it would be possible to increase the value and reduce the cost of transportation to market.

The results of the project indicate that it is possible to process digestate in an economical way from side streams of aquaculture in this country and even create significant value by further processing the digestate into final products.