Strong kr贸na threatens fishing sector

Published by FiskerForum, 29-03-2017 路 info@fiskerforum.dk

Plans announced by Icelandic fishing and processing company to close its groundfish production at Akranes have come in for sharp criticism in the media.

The company announced earlier this week that it is in talks with unions and aims to end groundfish processing at its Akranes location, merging this side of its activities with production in Reykjav铆k 鈥 effectively transferring groundfish production to its Reykjav铆k factory.

HB Grandi has 270 staff at Akranes, of whom 93 work in the groundfish division and whose jobs are thought to be at risk. In addition, the company has vessel services, some of its pelagic production and subsidiary companies Nor冒anfiskur and Vignir G J贸nsson located in Akranes, all which HB Grandi says it intends to expand, while stating that port does not have the required facilities for its groundfish landings.

Emergency meetings have been held in Akranes with MPs and union representatives.

Around half of HB Grandi鈥檚 groundfish quotas came to the company in 2004 when Reykjav铆k company Grandi merged with Akranes company Haraldur B枚冒varsson to form the HB Grandi grouping with locations on both sides of Faxafl贸i Bay.

The debate has been sharpened when SFS director Hei冒r煤n Lind Marteinsd贸ttir commented in a TV interview that with the difficult position faced by fishing companies due to unfavourable exchange rates, the options are there for Icelandic processors to shift their production operations to Britain, Eastern Europe or Asia.

She said that there are companies in other countries that are capable of providing full production of raw material from Iceland, making it an option that companies are considering.

Hei冒r煤n Lind Marteinsd贸ttir warned that there are companies that may not survive the present period of the Icelandic kr贸na鈥檚 strength against other currencies, adding that the pound has fallen by 25-30% against the kr贸na and the Euro has dropped by 15-18%. She commented on the HB Grandi situation in particular, saying that the company鈥檚 Akranes operation is run at a loss and the prospects for groundfish processing have not been as poor as they are today for the past decade.

Source: Various

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