In a new report published by the Iceland Ocean Cluster, the economic impact and performance of the so-called ocean cluster, the seafood industry and its related sectors, have been analyzed thoroughly for the year 2014. Albeit published in Icelandic, these are some of the main results:
- The turnover of the marine technology industry increased 11% in 2014. This is the 4th consecutive year this sector has seen an annual growth of 10-15%.
- In recent years, the fisheries sector has invested in a total of 12 new fishing vessels for roughly 35 billion ISK, the equivalent of 270 million USD.
- The seafood processing industry continued to concentrate geographically in 2014 with whitefish processing in particular collecting in the southwest region of Iceland. Today, one in two whitefish that is handled on land is processed in a 1-hour drive radius from Keflavik airport and Reykjavik’s main port, Sundahöfn. This trend goes hand in hand with increased emphasis on production of fresh fillets.
- Heavy investments continue in the aquaculture industry and if things go as planned the sector will increase output greatly in coming years. As experience has shown however, there is a long and winding road ahead in developing a prosperous offshore aquaculture industry. The sector is seeing more foreign investment now than before.
- The years 2009-2014 have been some of the most favorable in history for the commercial fisheries industry. However, there was a reduction in volume and value of exports in 2014 compared to 2013, mainly due to a poor herring season. Furthermore, 2015 has seen a number of external shocks such as difficulties in sales to Russia, Ukraine and Nigeria. Nonetheless, low oil prices have kept energy costs down and global seafood prices are mostly in good shape.
- Production and exports of fresh fillets and portions have grown substantially since 2008 with cod as the main species. 30% of the cod’s export value now comes from fresh fillets and portions, compared to 10% just seven years ago.
- Marine biotechnology and other marine-related innovation continues to develop and bloom as can be seen the number of new startups, products and investments.