There has been a significant growth in aquaculture in Iceland with fish farming production increasing eightfold in the last decade. The amount produced in 2020 was 40.6 thousand tonnes (table 1). Most of the growth has been in salmon farming where the yield has gone from 1,068 tonnes to 34,000 tonnes in 2020.

Arctic char is the second largest bred species with 5,000 tonnes produced in 2020. Breeding of rainbow trout reached a climax in 2017 when 4,600 tonnes were produced compared with 490 tonnes in 2020.

The number of people employed in aquaculture in 2019 was 488 according to the latest economic accounts. The revenue of businesses in aquaculture was 29 billion ISK in 2019 and had tripled from 2015. The expected revenue for 2020 is 32 billion ISK according to rollover data from VAT reports.

Export and comparison with other countries
The export value of farmed fish has increased alongside increase in production. About 70% of the aquaculture products have been exported in recent years (table 3). Accourding to preliminary export data, the export value of farmed salmon was 22.6 billion ISK in 2020 which was a 22% increase from 2019. The export of troutfish, arctic char and rainbow trout has been around 3-5 thousand tonnes in recent years and on average 70% of the production has been exported. The export value of trouts in 2020 was 5.5 billion ISK, 9.6% increase from the previous year.

Norway was by far the largest producer of farmed salmon in Europe in 2020 with 85% of the production according to Eurostat (table 4). Iceland was, however, the largest producer of arctic char in Europe last year.

Table 1 - Aquaculture production in Iceland (tonnes of ungutted fish)
Species 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
All species 5,050 5,309 7,431 7,053 8,328 8,383 15,129 20,859 19,077 34,055 40,595
Salmon 1068 1083 2,923 3,018 3,965 3,260 8,420 11,265 13,448 26,957 34,341
Arctic char 2,427 3,021 3,089 3,215 3,411 3,937 4,084 4,454 4,914 6,322 5,493
Rainbow trout 88 226 422 113 603 728 2138 4628 295 299 490
Other species* 1467 979 997 707 349 458 487 513 420 477 271
Table 2 - Selected items from financial income statements (million ISK)
Item 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
0-2-0 No. of employees 158 202 238 258 304 338 398 434 462 488
1-1-0 Operating income 3,960 4,466 6,220 6,654 9,328 9,588 14,407 19,348 19,404 28,955
1-2-2 Labour costs -804 -1,103 -1,375 -1,576 -2,169 -2,316 -3,205 -3,691 -3,976 -4,697
1-3-0 EBIT 929 664 496 206 153 -889 -1,724 916 -740 3,308
1-8-0 Net profit 705 293 44 -83 -378 -1,263 -1,568 -1,528 -2,998 1,382
2-1-0 Fixed assets 2,820 3,609 5,699 8,554 11,084 11,087 15,324 20,662 21,303 27,577
2-2-2 Stock 2,599 3,792 4,742 6,574 8,756 11,222 11,465 13,178 18,547 23,692
2-3-1 Long-term liabilities 3,599 3,417 4,377 6,278 9,154 10,773 10,742 12,039 16,356 24,899
2-3-2 Short-term liabilities 1,476 3,397 4,209 4,374 2,972 4,654 8,812 9,809 12,036 8,729
2-4-0 Equity 2,060 2,691 5,020 7,684 11,808 11,761 17,427 22,180 23,727 37,468

Table 3 - Export value of aquaculture (tonnes/million ISK)
Species Unit 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 20201
All species Quantity 1,809 2,289 4,011 3,786 4,504 5,493 9,693 14,993 14,063 26,842 31,496
Value 2,754 3,314 4,679 4,888 5,441 7,001 9,621 14,027 13,196 24,955 29,312
Salmon Quantity 380 462 1,791 1,183 1,621 2,089 5,526 8,857 9,696 20,344 24,275
Value 1,098 1,202 2,428 2,310 2,519 3,267 5,569 8,585 8,932 18,595 22,619
Trout Quantity 1,361 1,720 2,006 2,396 2,814 3,317 3,603 4,850 3,118 4,682 5,288
Value 1,518 2,018 2,176 2,487 2,858 3,574 3,569 4,589 3,504 5,095 5,585
Other species Quantity 67 107 213 206 69 87 563 1,286 1,249 1,815 1,933
Value 138 94 76 90 64 161 483 852 760 1,265 1,108
1Preliminary figures

Table 4a - Salmon farming in Europe (tonnes)
Country 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
UK 154,633 158,310 162,547 163,518 179,397 172,146 163,135 189,707 156,025 203,881
Denmark 3 - 0 - 394 420 1279 802 1,021 1,463
Faroe Islands 37,221 49,588 62,783 63,266 70,893 66,090 68,271 71,172 64,732 77,863
Ireland 15,691 12,195 12,440 9,125 9,368 13,116 16,300 18,342 11,984 11,333
Iceland 1,068 1,083 2,923 3,018 3,965 3,260 8,420 11,265 13,448 26,957
Norway 939,575 1,065,975 1,232,095 1,168,324 1,258,356 1,303,346 1,233,619 1,236,353 1,282,003 1,364,042
Poland - 43 18 0 0 4 272 394 493 503
Table 4b - Farming of Arctic char in Europe (tonnes)
Country 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Austria 45 116 120 142 151 208 193 237 272 266
UK 14 13 11 11 10 11 41 61 20 25
Faroe Islands 1,791 - - 72 - - - - - -
Iceland 2,427 3,021 3,089 3,215 3,411 3,937 4,084 4,454 4,914 6,322
Italy 135 99 148 165 16 33 - 28 22 -
Norway 492 276 309 281 285 257 333 341 288 519
Sweden 1,307 1,128 1,849 1,808 1,644 1,675 1,760 1,310 - -

Statistics