One of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, HB Grandi, recently announced the relocation of one of it’s most important fish processing plants from its current location in Reykjavik. In two years time the plant will move from Reykjavik to Akranes, a coastal town approximately 50 kilometres outside the capital.
Many local Akranes residents hope the move will reverse a trend which has seen many processing plants closed down. Processing plants have either left the area, reduced the numbers of staff or cut back on their operations in recent years. There is a fear that the fishing industry is declining in Iceland, especially in Iceland’s more remote communities that rely heavily on the industry for employment.
The current HB Grandi processing facility is located in the old downtown harbour area of Reykjavik. The company also operates a fish meal factory nearby which will also leave the city and most likely relocate to the eastern city of Vopnafjordur.
The two facilities employ some 120 workers. While most are likely to be offered employment at the new locations, it is still uncertain how many will move and how many will stay in the big city where job opportunities are plentiful.
The former processing plant is likely to be turned into an apartment complex. One real estate company has shown interest in the project, but permission from the Icelandic Ports Association is still needed.
The relocation should occur sometime in 2009. HB Grandi is waiting until the port facilities in Akranes have been successfully upgraded to make the move.