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Blue whiting season unaffected by power rationing

‘We can say that we managed to finish the season before the power was cut off. We have been running the fishmeal plant on a non-guaranteed power supply but have never had any problems until now. We were able to maintain the power supply until midday on Monday and just managed to finish the last of the blue whiting by then,’ said Sveinbjörn Sigmundsson, factory manager at HB Grandi’s Vopnafjördur plant.

As has been reported, water levels in reservoirs across northern Iceland have been lower than in recent years and this has resulted in power cuts to heavy industry and those companies that had negotiated a non-guaranteed supply. There is plenty of power in Iceland, but making this available from sources in the south of the country to where it is needed in the north has been such a problem that power has been rationed to heavy users for the next few weeks or until the water levels in the Hálslón and Blöndulón reservoirs is back to normal.

According to Sveinbjörn Sigmundsson, this is the first time that power shortages have to any great extent affected fishmeal plants in northern and eastern Iceland, and he said that it was luck that they were finishing the last landing of the season when the power supply had to be cut.

‘Until now we have been able to ensure an additional supply, but this time the situation was so serious that we weren’t able to do it. We needed half a megawatt on Monday afternoon and as that wasn’t available, we had to switch over diesel power to keep the dryer running. There were no delays, and we can’t be anything but satisfied with the service we have had so far,’ he said, and added that he is happy with the way the blue whiting season went this year. Approximately 19,000 tonnes of blue whiting were landed at Vopnafjördur over the course of the month-long season, although HB Grandi’s vessels twice made landings in the Faroes due to the weather.

‘Now there’s a major programme of cleaning going on at the factory and after that we move on to repairs and maintenance until the mackerel and Atlanto-Scandian herring season starts in the summer. That could start in early July. Shipping out products has gone well and last weekend we shipped out 2000 tonnes of fishmeal. So our stocks of fishmeal are low at the moment,’ Sveinbjörn Sigmundsson said.