Iceland and Norway break live salmon transport record

Samherji-salmon-01An ambitious weeklong process sending the largest quantity of living salmon that has ever been transported from Iceland to Norway came to an end recently for Islandsbleikja, Samherji’s subsidiary in fish farming. A ship, the largest of its kind, came ashore in Kirkenes in North Norway with 600,000 living Salmon smolts worth NOK 6 million (ISK 125 million, USD 964,000).

‘Smolt’ is a word connected solely with salmonid types of fish, and describes the stage when the young freshwater fish is first able to survive in saltwater.

The Salmon smolts came from two Icelandic fish farms: Islandsbleikja in Grindavik and Islandslax in Nupar (Olfus). The smolts were about one year old and their average weight was 100g. The operation started in Thorlakshofn where a truck brought the smolts to the harbour where they were floated onboard the ship Romaster from Norway.

The ship then sailed to Grindavik where more smolts were pumped through a pipe all the way out to the ship, about 400 meters offshore. This part of the transfer took about 24 hours. The Romaster is the largest vessel of its kind (specially equipped to carry live fish) and this operation is the largest ever executed both in regard to distance and quantity.

The whole operation was of course closely watched by Jon Kjartan Jonsson, Manager of Islandsbleikja. “I cannot deny this was a stressful week, the risk was substantial and very important that everything would add up. Transporting live smolts is a very delicate operation and nothing must go wrong, especially with this large quantity and long distance,” he said. The smolts were pumped from the ship as soon as it landed in Kirkenes and are now in their new home in Norway were they will be bred for another year before ending on a European dinner plate.

Norwegian farmed Salmon, originating from Iceland.