Nordic Salmon: Value added processing in Nordic aquaculture




Sæmundur Elíasson, Unn Laksá, Audun Iversen, Christian Rohde og Gunnar Þórðarson

Styrkt af:

Nordic Council of Ministers - Working Group for Fisheries (AG-Fisk)


Sæmundur Elíasson


The workshop on value added processing of farmed fish in the Nordic explored options and assessed the feasibility of value added production in the region. It brought together 45 participants from various sectors, including salmon farms, sales and marketing, technical and processing equipment developers, research groups, and transport and freight companies. The project was supported by AG-Fisk and managed by a team of industry experts from Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands, and Denmark/Germany. The planning group then compiled a final report using a SWOT analysis to present the workshop’s main conclusions. Presentations from the workshop are accessible in the report appendix.

The SWOT analysis concluded that the main positive factors for the Nordic salmon industry include favourable farming conditions that can provide steady delivery and the ability to build a strong brand in terms of origin and identity. A major strength identified for secondary processing in the Nordic is the strong demand for high-quality, sustainably-produced salmon. Other strengths included the strict farming regulations to minimize environmental impact and improve animal welfare, as well as the potential for vertical integration to improve transparency and control over the entire production process. Specifically, for Iceland the access to renewable energy is a major strength.  Automation and technology access, with the use of water-jet robots to remove pinbones and automatic sorting, grading, and trimming providing opportunities for objective quality control and increased efficiency. Superchilling techniques were also identified as a potential advantage, allowing for longer shelf-life and a firmer product with less gaping. There were also opportunities for increased utilization of side products from salmon processing, as well as the potential for branded, value added products and better market segmentation.

The main negative factors included logistic and shelf-life limitations, unfavourable tariffs on trade, and high production costs compared to competitors. Major challenges identified specifically for Iceland are to maintain a steady, year-round supply of salmon and the distance to major retail chains. Logistics and transportation costs were also identified as important barriers for companies operating in Iceland and The Faroe Islands.

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