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Production value close to a billion Isl Kr

This summer 4200 tonnes of fishmeal and 3800 tonnes of fish oil have been produced at HB Grandi's reduction plant in Vopnafjördur. According to Gardar Svavarsson, in charge of sales for the company's fishmeal and oil, the value of these products is approximately 957 million Isl Kr.

Herring fishing has been strong this summer and it has been noticeable that there has been a high proportion of mackerel in herring catches. Processing has been running well at the Vopnafjördur plant and some catches have been landed elsewhere. The main market for fish meal and oil is in Norway, where these products are used for manufacturing aquaculture feeds, and there are also strong markets in Greece, Finland and Denmark.

According to Gardar Svavarsson, 3450 tonnes of meal and 2260 tonnes of fish oil have been exported so far and regular shipments are already planned for the  coming weeks. He says that the market outlook is promising.

'The fish oil price has increased significantly over last year and there is a direct link between fish oil prices and mineral oil prices on the world market - and as we know, there have been huge rises in oil prices worldwide. Vegetable oils that compete with fish oil are increasingly being used for producing biofuels, and the prices of these have shot up as well,' says Gardar Svavarsson, adding that fish meal price trends have been quite different.

'The fishmeal price was at a historical peak last year and the price for meal in foreign currency terms are lower now than they were then. But the weakening króna has offset this and this means that in Icelandic currency terms, the fish meal price is still at a peak.'


Tough competition with vegetable products

There is plenty of competition on the market in the form of vegetable products used as the base for manufacturing feeds.

'Fish feed production has increased by 5%, but fish meal production has fallen, partly due to smaller quotas, so producers have increasingly been reducing the volumes of fish meal used in their feeds, and have been using vegetable proteins instead. The proportion of fish meal in fish feed varies but it has gone as low as 23-24%, but this depends on the availability and price of fish meal. High soya meal prices last few months resulted in a higher concentration of fish meal in feeds again, probably around 28-30%.'

Gardar Svavarsson is satisfied with the quality of this summer's production and attributes this to good co-operation between catching and processing.

'Over the summer warmer sea temperatures and feed in the target species can contribute to a more rapid loss of quality. With good co-operation between our catching and processing divisions, we have been able to control this. Good raw material gives us the opportunity to manufacture first-class products that meet our customers' requirements,' says Gardar Svavarsson.