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3rd editon

december 2013

Icelandic Fishing Industry Magazine




» An obligatory accident prevention course The Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre was established in 1985. All seafarers on larger ships are required to take a course there.


» An exciting field “The fishing industry is an exciting field for young people. Especially the fresh fish market, in my opinion.“ Adalsteinn Thorsteinsson, Eskja.



» Many ways to save energy

Increasing energy prices and growing environmental awareness are causing more and more fishing companies to take advantage of options available to increase efficiency.



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» Necessary to empower women Women in the Fishing Sector is a newly founded association for women working in or around the fishing sector.

» Perfect for research “In Iceland we have ideal conditions. We are surrounded by sea, fisheries and fish processing facilites, which offers leeway for research, investigation and execution.”

Boston MA, United States




Maine, United States

St. Anthony NL, Canada

Halifax NS, Canada

Grundarfjordur Iceland

Bildudalur blue line





Isafjordur Iceland

NL, Canada

yellow line

Saudarkrokur Iceland


red line




green line

Westman Islands

brown line





partner route



freight forwarding


possible arctic sailing route

Klaksvik Faroe Islands

optional port / seasonal route major transit hub

Faroe Islands


transit hub

Grimsby port

Vigo Lisbon





Faroe Islands

Bergen Norway





Aalesund Norway


Sortland Norway


Stavanger Norway








The Netherlands


Velsen The Netherlands



Hamburg Germany





Szczecin Poland



Swinoujscie Poland



Murmansk Russia

Klaipeda Lithuania

Riga Latvia

St. Petersburg Russia

new improved sailing schedule Weekly domestic coastal sailings with direct connections to the UK and mainland Europe.

Increased frequency and shorter transit time to and from the USA.

Fresh fish transported weekly from Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

New port in the USA, Portland, Maine.


Increased services for the fish and oil industry with sailings to and from Scotland.

Korngarðar 2 | 104 Reykjavík, Iceland | 525 7000 |

Possible stops in Isafjordur and Akureyri on the way from Norway. New stops in Vágar, the Faroe Islands and Hamburg, Germany.


Security of supply no. 1, 2 and 3


G Fiskverkun in Rif is an established company founded in 1995 by Kristján Gudmundsson, the father of the current owner, Hjálmar Kristjánsson. Since 1996, the fish processing plant has produced salted cod filets almost exclusively. Production started slowly, with 300-400 tons of cod filets a year, but now production is at around one thousand tons. Twenty-five employees work at the processing plant, most of whom have worked there a long time. All of the catch processed in the plant is caught by the company’s line boat Tjaldur SH. The company moved into a new processing plant in 2007. Wich is over 2000 square meters. “We believe it’s important to have the best available facilities and equipment which is why we always spend about 50 to 60 million krona every year on equipment renewal,” says Hjálmar. One of the things that makes the company so special is that all of the plant’s products are sold to the same buyer, Copesco in Barcelona. “Since 1996, Copesco has bought everything we have produced, Hjálmar says. The Spanish firm has been operating a long time and has bought salted fish from Iceland since 1853. “The companies were led together by coincidence in 1996. A good business relationship

developed immediately that has turned out very well for both parties, Hjálmar says. » High quality fisheries management system Copesco representatives visit KG every year and KG representatives go abroad on a regular basis as well. Copesco sells mainly fish to retailers but also fully processes consumer products for supermarkets and stores, mainly in Catalonia. KG exports the fish by sea, which is then transported by truck from Holland to Barcelona. What is the key to such a fortunate business relationship? “It’s trust,” Hjálmar says. “One has to stick to one’s word. The basis, of course, is the Icelandic fisheries management system. This type of allocation system lets firms know what their allowances are and allows them to manage when they are utilised over the course of the year. Being able to manage the quality and handling of the catch from the boat to the consumer, that is key. The quality and quantity are known and buyers know what they are dealing with, as do their customers.” This is of great importance to the customer and their customers. “The security of supply is number 1,2 and 3. There is tremendous value in the reliability,” Hjálmar says. n

Consumers can trace the origin of the fish Consumers are now able to trace the fish they eat through smart devices in order to see where and when the fish was caught. The fish, which is sustainably caught, will be sold to restaurants abroad. The owner received a grant to support women’s economic development. Icelandic Fish Export is a new start-up in Bolungarvík owned by Katrín Pálsdóttir and her husband, Thorsteinn Másson. The company exports fish with the added capability of tracing the fish on their smart phones or computers in order to see where, when and how the fish was caught. The technology was developed in cooperation with Skapalón and TrackWell. When the company was founded last spring, Katrín told BB that they planned to sell fish to restaurants abroad that can be traced with smart phones or computers. The fish will be environmentally friend-



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ly and caught from a sustainable stock. “The quota system incentivises sustainability and the fish should be caught on a line or a net, methods that do not damage the seabed,” Katrín said. It should be noted that she received a 700 thousand krona grant for the project. She was one of 29 women who received grants from the Ministry of Social Affairs to support women’s employment issues. Through the tracking system, fish is served with an information card that is handed to restaurant customers when they order fish. The consumer scans the code on the info card into his or her phone to see the date, place, method and boat that caught the fish. The company has one boat, Einar Hálfdán ÍS 11. The captain of Einar Hálfdán ÍS is Einar Gudmundsson, who is from Bolungarvík and comes from a long line of fishermen. Published with the permission of Baejarins Besta in Ísafjördur. n

Fishing companies doing well


slandsbanki recently published its annual report on the status of the seafood market. The report provides an overview of the status of the seafood market in Iceland and developments in recent years. Fishing companies have been doing well, overall, and despite falling prices on important types, the sector has managed to adapt to current conditions. » Things looking brighter Investment levels in the Icelandic seafood sector have been very low in recent years. “The ten-year average is around 26% of contribution margins, while investments were only at 9% in 2011; a significant difference,” says Rúnar Jónsson, Business Manager of Íslandsbanki’s seafood division. He says there has been little renewal in the fleet in recent years, indicating the time may have come for that. However, the fleet overall is in fairly good conditions as many have opted to renovate ships, and maintenance levels are usually good, although there are exceptions to this rule. Some companies have been investing in new ships and equipment in the last two years. The most recent data in the report are from 2012. Some smaller boats have also been replaced. “At first glance, it seems that investments in 2012 are greater than the year prior. It is our assessment that the outlook is a bit brighter and investments are increasing again,” Rúnar says. » Seafood sector paid down debts The seafood sector was highly indebted after the collapse and Rúnar says it necessary to take this into consideration. “Seafood companies were focussed on paying down debt and getting a handle on the situation as opposed to increasing debt through more investments, as was a natural response at the time,” says Rúnar. Economic and uncertainty and political uncertainty surrounding the fisheries management system have also been influential, also to those who were doing well prior to the collapse. Rúnar says that dividend payments in the seafood sector have not been high. Profit-risk ratios are not great, as the fishing company data reveal. HB Grandi is one company that publishes all of its accounts. “People often look at the overall number and draw conclusions from there, but things have to be put into context,” Rúnar says. Uncertainty and risk is in the sector are very high. » Growth in fish farming Rúnar says there were few surprises when the report was being prepared, except for the speed of recuperation since the collapse. “The turnaround has been better than expected and returns con-

Rúnar Jónsson, Business Manager of Íslandsbanki’s seafood division.

tinue to be good, both in fishing and processing on land. The capelin season was large last year. There were estimates of returns of 30 billion and it was pleasing to see that number turn out to be true.” Rúnar says it is also interesting to look at the growth in the fish-farming sector in recent years. “Most of the growth in fish production numbers globally is in fish farming and it is nice to see that we are making a name for ourselves in that field.” We can assume continued growth in the field, although Icelanders have protected many areas from farming, which limits the size of the sector somewhat, something that, for instance, Norway has emphasised. “The highest output level we reached in fish farming was 10 tons. That was in 2006, but now it seems we may reach those levels again within two years.” Value-creation in farming is good, as salmon prices are high. “It is curious to see the changes in amounts and prices in fish farming. 7800 tons were slaughtered in 2012, which is 2800 tons more than in 2011. The increase is mainly in salmon farming, in which 3100 tons were slaughtered in 2012, compared to 1100 tons in 2011. The export value of farmed fish also increased by 1.3 billion krona which deserves some praise.” Price increases in salmon have weighed heavily there and delivered success to fish farmers. » Important to have variety among companies Rúnar says that despite the numbers for the seafood sector being good overall, it should be kept in mind that companies within the sector are quite diverse. They vary as regards to focus, size, composition and category. It is therefore difficult to make decisions for the entire sector based on the numbers alone. “It could be even be detrimental,” Rúnar says. “Aggregated data should be taken with a grain of salt. You must always dig deeper if you are going to draw conclusions and make decisions. We want a varied and valuable selection of companies in the seafood sector.” n

dece mber 2013



Raised in the fishing industry


is name is Adalsteinn. He is the 31-year-old son of Thorsteinn, raised in Eskifjordur in East Iceland. He was baptised Adalsteinn Jónsson in honour of his grandfather, the well-known fisheries businessman most often called Alli the Rich. “I’m not rich in money,” his grandfather once told the undersigned. “I own these ships and the fish processing plants on land, but they aren’t money unless I sell them, which I do not plan to do,” the older Alli once said. He was known for always thinking about his home town and its residents. They worked for him toward the same goal. The parents of Adalsteinn the younger are Captain Thorsteinn Kristjánsson and Björk Adalsteinsdóttir. Adalsteinn is engaged to Ása María Thórhallsdóttir, with whom he has two sons, Thorsteinn Dan, almost 4, and the one-year-old Kjartan Dadi. » Started in seines, then went to sea “I started working for the company when I was 11, at the seine factory in Eskifjördur. I went to sea with my father when I was 15. I was at sea throughout my school years, and when I graduated secondary school I started working for Iceland Seafood. I then moved to Sæmark, where I worked in the export of Icelandic marine products. Before starting university I went back to sea to save some money for school.“ Adalsteinn studied Business Administration at Reykjavík University, graduating in 2009. He then started working for Iceland Seafood International, where he had worked before. “When Eskja bought the fresh fish facility in Hafnarfjörður in 2010, I was



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hired as managing director. I have now been in the position for 3 years. The company that operates the facility is called Eskja Operating Company ehf. (Rekstarfélagið Eskja) and specialises in the processing of cod and haddock. The majority of our products are exported fresh, although we also have the capacity to freeze, which we do to 20% of our products. The products go mostly to Belgium, Britain, France and the United States. They are also exported in smaller amounts to other markets.” » An international environment in Hafnarfjördur Eskja’s fresh fish processing facility in Hafnarfjördur employs about 26-28 people from all over the world. Adalsteinn says the fishing industry is an exciting field for young people. “Especially the fresh fish market, in my opinion. The environment is continually changing and there are many innovations and challenges that make the job genuinely interesting. I suppose it is the pace and excitement surrounding fresh fish that most interests me, and the challenges we meet every day that make it so enjoyable. This facility in Hafnarfjördur has also been very successful.” He says he has no doubt that fishing and fish production are the future. “From my perspective anyway, I can imagine working in this field long into the future, as it is really all I know. In general, I don’t think young people know enough about the fishing industry and some may even have strong misconceptions about the field. The sector is very exciting and provides endless opportunities for the young and avid.” n

All on the same course Reykjavík Seafood (RS) is a young company, founded in 2011, by Hrafn Bjarnason, Sigurdur Steinn Einarsson and Snorri Halldórsson. They have now been joined by Fridbjörn Möller and Reynir Fridriksson. They all studied Fisheries Science at the University of Akureyri. The company was founded to participate in innovation and market by-products of the fisheries sector. » Three days to sell the first freight container The company started by hiring a contractor to gut and freeze plaice that was caught accidentally in pelagic fishing during the summer of 2012. The experiment was a success and they decided to continue on into the fall, replacing plaice with types that could not be sold in the fish markets (ended in 0 ISK/kg). RS employees learned how the market worked and watched every day at 13:00 when the market opened and bought 2-3 units per day of common dab or plaice. Often the employees were in the middle of classes at the University of Akureyri while the auction was going on, so both students and teachers would follow along intently. A few months later, there was a container ready with common dab and a considerable amount of plaice. The marketing then began. Luckily, students had just been taught how to read data from Statistics Iceland on each type. The employees then easily could see what countries were markets for common dab. It took only three days to sell the first container, which left Iceland on December 3, 2012. RS employees worked on loading the container the day before a final exam in mathematics. Some things cannot be learned at school and the owners of RS seafood believe it necessary to get to know the actual inner workings of the fishing sector. “School is the academic part of the fishing sector and once that is finished, the practical takes over,” says Sigurdur Steinn Einarsson. „One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that it takes nearly the same amount of time to sell 100 containers as it does to sell one container. This makes business relationships very valuable,” Snorri Halldórsson says.

» Turnover heading toward 150 million A lot has gone on since the sale of the first container and the RS business model has changed considerably. The company’s turnover is headed toward more than 150 million krona for 2013 and operations have shifted more toward distribution sales of fish from Iceland, Greenland and Norway and the import of packaging for fishing sector firms. Companies in Iceland area now taking RS a bit more seriously than they did at the start. They often received responses such as this one, that came from one of the country’s largest fishing companies: “If you can find a buyer for this, so can we,” and they held on to that answer for a long time, despite RS offering a higher price than others. RS employees have taken part in the following innovation projects: n Experimental processing of fish skin (supported by RANNÍS) and production is expected to start soon. n Processing of swim bladders (supported by RANNÍS). n Mackerel smoking (supported by VAXA). n Cod liver oil production facility in Dalvík (supported by VAXEY), which is operating today. The company’s goal is to move Icelandic seafood products closer to consumers. “We can imagine a cod filet selling here for 700 ISK/kg while it ends up on a plate in Europe for 2500-3000 ISK/kg. We want to transfer this value increase home by reducing middlemen, or in other words, connect the Icelandic fishing industry directly to consumers,“ Sigurdur and Snorri say. Two have now graduated from the Fisheries Science programme at the University while Fridbjörn and Sigurdur are in their final year. RS operations are now on both sides of the Atlantic as Snorri is taking his master’s in Fisheries Science at the University of Tromsö while Sigurdur is on an exchange programme in St. Johns, Newfoundland. n

dece mber 2013



Berta Daníelsdóttir, spokesperson and vice chairman for the new founded association.

A new association for women in the fishing sector

Women in the Fishing Sector is a newly founded association for women working in or around the fishing sector. The association is meant to strengthen women’s network of contacts, make them more visible and improve their education.

Unity strengthens women 8


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he purpose of the group is to make women in the fishing sector more visible, both within the field and outside of it,” says Berta Daníelsdóttir, the association’s vice chairman and spokesperson. There are more women working in the fishing sector and related sectors than people seem to realise, so there is a need to increase their visibility. “There is also a need to create a strong network of contacts. A woman may sometimes hesitate to ask a man for advice and could find it easier to call another woman in a similar position.” Berta says that personal networks are known in many areas, such as in sciences, academia and EU related fields, and they are often considered beneficial. “I am personally involved in a group called the Association of Business Women in Iceland that has been quite active. Many of us were interested in reaching women that were working specifically in the fishing sector.” Berta says it important to emphasise that this is not a women’s group being founded to rally against men. “That is not its purpose. We just want women to join hands in galvanising women, increasing their influence and supporting them in their work.” Berta says that women don’t work hard enough at getting ahead within their companies and letting bosses know they want to present ideas or the projects they have been involved in, and they need to be encouraged to do so. “We also want to encourage them to gain more education in the fishing sector, as there is quite a lot on offer, including the Fishing Technology School in Grindavík, marine related fields of study within the universities and the University Centre of the West Fjords. They often need encouragement to acquire more education and the association may have a role to play there.” Berta says the myth about women being catty and unsupportive is untrue and that women usually want to support each other. “The purpose of the association is to create a society where women can help and encourage each other. United, we are stronger.” » Want as many on board as possible Berta said the idea for the association came from Hildur Kristborgardóttir, the association’s chairman. While attending the fisheries convention in Brussels last spring, she saw many women in the sector that did not appear to know each other while almost all of the men seemed to know one another. The need for a venue where women in the fishing sector can get to know each other became clear at the convention. Hildur then contacted some

women in the sector who all liked the idea. “I’ve worked at Marel for fifteen years and have little contact with women in similar positions.” The group has now met several times to discuss the organisation, and now all legal aspects have been addressed and the association listed. A board and several committees have been appointed, with each position filled by an energetic woman. “Now we need to present the association to all women who work in or around the fishing sector. We plan to launch a website later this year alongside an introductory event that will allow everyone in the fishing sector to become familiar with the workings of the association.” The association will be open to all women involved in the fishing sector, directly or indirectly. “Hopefully we will get a lot of women on board!” said Berta. About 2100 women work directly in the fishing industry. Those involved indirectly must be in the hundreds as well. This can therefore become a large and active association. There are plans to have one large meeting per year where association members can meet. They also plan to be visible at conventions and participate in workshops held in connection with the fishing industry. “We are going to wait and see how things develop, but it would be nice to be able to get into the schools to present the fishing sector to young people.” The association wants to make women more visible in the media. “Women’s voices need to be heard more, whether in the media, academia or in society.” » Working in the fishing sector is cool The fishing sector has long been one of the fundamental sectors in the Icelandic economy and Berta says people should be proud of working in the fishing sector, whether they are standing at the conveyor belt in the processing facility, working in technology development or selling fish for export. “People need to realise that they are part of an important chain. The woman at the conveyor belt is creating value through her work and she should be proud of that. We have to lift the fishing sector onto a higher ground in people’s minds. It is positive and cool to work in a job connected to the fishing sector, as it is an essential sector in Iceland and will continue to be so. I work for Marel, and although it is a technology company and not directly a fishing sector firm, we well to the fishing sector and are closely linked to it. This is something I am proud of. The fishing sector is so important to Icelanders.” n

The Board of Women in the Fishing Sector: Chairman: Hildur Sif Kristborgardóttir, managing director of Goggur Publishing Company. Vice-chairman: Berta Daníelsdóttir, managing director of sales and service of Marel in Iceland Treasurer: Eva Rún Michelsen, office manager at the Icelandic Marine Cluster Director: Andrea Atladóttir, CFO of Vinnslustödin hf. Director: Erla Pétursdóttir, project manager at Vísir hf. Director: Íris Magnúsdóttir, marketing director of Wise Lausnir ehf. Director: Ingibjörg Bryngeirsdóttir, 2nd mate of Herjólfur Director: Gudbjörg Ingvarsdóttir, project manager in the Corporate Communication and Marketing Division of Eimskip Alternate: Nótt Thorberg, marketing manager of Marel in Iceland Alternate: Stella Björg Kristinsdóttir, marketing manager of the Fishing Industry Centre of Marel

dece mber 2013



Professional ambition is a prerequisite


Kristín Líf Valtýsdóttir.



ristín Líf Valtýsdóttir, 28 years old, is born and raised in Akureyri and works for Marel as a project manager in the product research team at the industrial centre for the fishing industry. “My grandfather had a fishing business, so there was always a connection to the sea and fishing as I grew up. I worked in a fish processing facility during my teenage years and was very proud of it,” Kristín says. When Kristín was twenty, she moved to Reykjavík to start her engineering studies at the University of Iceland. She had not decided what she wanted to do for work, but had decided on engineering, as math and its applications were well suited for Kristín. » Got lucky After completing her BS in industrial engineering, Kristín took a summer job at Matís. She then started a master’s programme in mechanical engineering and was offered to complete her master’s project in cooperation with Matís. “I researched the effects of a variety of pre-cooling methods in temperature control systems in fish processing facilities, in addition to redesigning packaging for the export of fresh fish products, with the aim of minimising heat transfer from the atmosphere to the product. It was exciting work and allowed me to develop strong connections to the fishing industry,“ Kristín says. Kristín completed part of her studies in Denmark where she lived for one year while studying at DTU in Copenhagen. “I wasn’t really planning to come home at the end of my exchange year and applied for several jobs in Denmark. I then decided to check and see what was available at Marel, a company I always been impressed by.” Kristín didn’t see any jobs advertised on the Marel website that suited her, but she decided to send them an email. That is how she heard that they were putting together a research team in the Marel fishing industry centre. “I really got lucky, as this suited me so well. I applied immediately and was granted an interview. My projects at Matís were connected to Marel’s projects and I had relevant experience. Marel seemed to agree with me, as they offered me the job after the interview, and I accepted. I was also offered a position in Den-

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mark, in an entirely different field, but I found the job at Marel more exciting.” » Developing knowledge is very rewarding Kristín says she is very happy at Marel. The job is incredibly exciting and varied, and the result of the research is knowledge that is immediately delivered into the company’s product development. “I visit fish processing plants to familiarise myself with what is happening with them. I thereby get a direct connection to the sector and don’t have to sit at the computer screen and read about what is happening. We also do a number of exciting experiments. The job is both theory and practice, which is great.” Kristín says that one of the factors that makes Marel an exciting company is flexibility and leeway in research. “If you want to try something new, it is possible, because Marel can create almost anything and of course fish is readily available.“ Kristín is currently at home with a five month old, but before her maternity leave she was working on tools for removing bones. “The research is very fun. It is rewarding to develop knowledge and transfer it on to the product development team that then uses it.” » Icelanders at the forefront When Kristín is asked what is fun about the sector, she responds in turn by asking what is not fun about it. “In Iceland we have ideal conditions. We are surrounded by the sea and its fisheries and fish processing facilities, that offer leeway for research, investigation and execution.” Kristín says she is proud of her connection to the fishing sector through her position at Marel, as Icelanders base their lives and economy largely on the sea. “Marel is a progressive company that is doing good things, the atmosphere is good and the work rewarding.” » Constant search for knowledge Kristín says she is not sure if she will continue her studies. She says she is the type of person who likes to learn, but the nature of her job is such that her need to study is largely met there. “In my work, I’m constantly meeting new challenges that keep me involved. If you have professional ambition, you can last in your job.” n

Women should give the fishing sector a chance Sólveig Arna Jóhannesdóttir is the sales manager at HB Grandi, a position she has held since 2006. She was previously a marketing representative for the same company. “I handle the sales of all fresh products and their transport to buyers. Our fresh products go to Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland.”Sólveig graduated from Flensborg, is a fish processor from the Fish Processing School in Hafnarfjördur and a fish-processing technician from the old Technical School that was merged with Reykjavík University. She later got her teaching credentials. “I’m raised in Fáskrúdsfjördur and got to know the fishing sector at a young age,” she says.  Her path led to the sale and export of fish, and then worked for some time in another field. The fishing sector interested her, so Sólveig went to work for HB Grandi, where she still works. “This is an incredibly diverse and engaging job,” she says. “I interact with people all over the world every day and there is always a lot going on, both domestically and abroad. You speak to and get to know people in all areas of the sector, from the fisherman to the most senior company executives, as well as people in support and service jobs surrounding the sector.” Sólveig says she enjoys creating foreign currency for the nation and is very proud of that. She says she does not interact much with other women in her work, and most meetings are male dominated. “This is a man’s

world. Unfortunately there are not a lot of women in executive positions in the fishing sector and I’d very much like to see that change. Not to criticise the men in any way, as I work with great people. It would just be nice to see more women in the sector.” In her opinion, the sector needs to be marketed more effectively to young people. Síldarvinnslan in Neskaupsstadur is doing impressive work, but this type of initiative should be more common. “We are not successfully showing young people all of the opportunities that the fishing sector presents or all the possibilities for specialisation in entails. Nations that are not nearly as dependent on the fishing sector are doing much better regarding education and marketing. This needs to be improved.” She says that if more young people got to know the sector, they would show more interest. Most do not realise how diverse it is. Likewise, women may realise their potential in the sector. Many of the jobs filled almost entirely by men today are jobs that would be interesting to women if they were familiar with them. “They should give the fishing sector a chance. It can of course be difficult to enter a sector of mostly men, but it can also be a fun challenge to make a place there. The first male nurses I’m sure had their share of experiences. It can be difficult to tread the path, but I think many women would realise how rewarding it is to work in the fishing sector. It is a challenging field that is also rewarding, diverse and engaging.” n

Sólveig Arna Jóhannesdóttir with the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, at Bessastaðir. HB Grandi was awarded with the yearly Export Award 2013.

dece mber 2013



More women needed on


rla Björg Gudrúnardóttir is the owner of Marz Seafood in Stykkishólmur, which specialises in the sale of a variety of marine products all over the world. One of the things that makes the company so special is that it is made up entirely of women.

» Was always market-minded As many others, Erla became familiar with the fishing sector through family connections. She is married to Sigurdur Ágústsson, managing director of Agustson ehf in Stykkishólmur. Unlike many others, however, she decided to start her own company instead of joining her husband’s operation. “When I completed by business degree from the university of Reykjavík in 2003, I knew that there were not a tremendous amount of job opportunities in Stykkishólmur,” Erla says. “We therefore sat down one night, my husband and I, and reviewed the situation. He said he could introduce me to one or two people if I was interested in selling fish. As I result, I started Marz on May 1, 2003.” The ball started rolling and Erla graduated in June. The company started slowly, as it takes time to gain customers’ trust, says Erla. “I started with a small selection of products, and people were willing to give me one or two palettes. When I always paid on time, people could see that I was professional, which built trust slowly but Erla Björg surely.” Erla quickly became aware that operatGuðrúnardóttir. ing a company suited her well, as she had always been market-minded. “It’s exciting to find buyers and sellers that fit together, and finalise contracts. Of course, not everyone will agree with me, but this suits me well.” In addition, she finds the fishing sector interesting, with an endless amount of opportunities on offer. » Running a company of women is fun Erla says she was surprised by how well the job suited her and how much she enjoyed building the business. “There are always plenty of challenges, but the journey is fun.” Operations have been successful. Today, Marz offers products from countries other than Iceland, although the majority of products still come from here. The company offers all of the North-Atlantic types and has customers all over the world, from Brazil to Russia. Unlike most sales companies, Marz is operated from Stykkishólmur. Erla says that fish can be bought and sold anywhere. She loves living in Stykkishólmur, and being able to work from there is a benefit. Marz is unique among marine sector companies in that the company is made up entirely of women. “It wasn’t a conscious decision,” says Erla, as things just happened that way. “I was alone to start, then hired one employee who was a woman. Then more joined, all women. There was one man who was here for a brief time. I think it may have been a bit of a challenge for a man to start working at a women’s workplace.” Erla says that the team is wonderful. They are organised and hard-working women who work well together. “It’s fun to run a company that is made up entirely of women, and we enjoy being a female company. People also find it interesting, as it makes us unique, which is always good.” » Equality at work In a family where both parents work in seafood, does conversation often turn to fish and matters relating to fish? “Without a



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doubt, and sometimes the girls have had enough. We’re also both busy. I remember a time when I was going somewhere with my youngest daughter, who asked for one wish before we left: Would I leave my phone at home.” Starting and running your own company takes a lot of time and energy. Erla and Sigurdur have three daughters, 15, 20 and 24 years old. Has it not upset their family life through the years to work so much? “Yes, of course. We’ve always made certain to make the most of the time we do have together: to focus on quality versus quantity. It’s also important that we divide tasks at home between us evenly, and the girls seeing their father bake is just as likely as them seeing me bake.” She said she never would have been able to do this if she didn’t have an understanding husband who had always provided her with a lot of support, both regarding work and her studies. At that time, she lived in Reykjavík and came home every other weekend, while her youngest daughter was two years old. Erla says that the girls had to take care of a lot of things themselves, making them both independent and responsible individuals. “I think this has also shown them equality at work and they see me as a role model of sorts.” Interest in the fishing sector has also rubbed off on the girls as the oldest, now completing her engi-

the front lines

neering studies at HR, worked for Erla last summer and is interested in continued work for the company. » A learning process The environment in which a sales company like Marx operates is both hard and challenging. Have you ever thought it a disadvantage to be a woman? “No, I’ve never felt it was a barrier, if anything, the opposite. The majority of those working in this field are men. Me being a woman, and this being a female company, puts us in a unique position.” She says that women also have a different approach to men, and different values, which often comes in handy. It is fun to take men on in a field where they often have the advantage. She has also been very successful in areas such as the Middle East, although she warned about doing business there. “One is however often welcome if one offers good prices and maintains good and honest work practices. Honesty and trust is the basis of all success. Your reputation is the most valuable thing you own. People know that you stand by your words.” Erla says she often admires men and their ability to see things from a distance. She has tried to adopt that characteristic and says it has benefitted her greatly. “I, like other women, run the risk of being

too emotional when it comes to decision making. I then tell myself: How would a man view this? My husband told me once to sleep on things before I make a decision and that advice has served me well,” she says. Another quality more common to men is the willingness to take risks. Women are more cautious, which is often beneficial. This can often be an obstacle in this tough business and she had tried to expand her circle of comfort and take a bit more risk. “Taking on these habits, with a feminine touch, has given me a lot.“

Marz‘s offices in Stykkishólmur

» More women wanted The fishing sector is a field where men are still in the majority, does Erla encourage women to find the opportunities entailed in the sector? “Without a doubt. The fishing sector is an incredibly exciting field where women have been performing well. Some of the production companies we are in business have women as production managers, and they among the best in their field. Without criticising men in the slightest, I’d like to believe that women are excellent in this role, as they are organised and precise. They have also been doing very well as quality managers and CFOs, for example. I’d enjoy seeing more women in the front lines of the fishing sector,” Erla says in closing. n

dece mber 2013



Maximising energy efficiency is of great importance

Many ways to save energy Increasing energy prices and growing environmental awareness are causing more and more fishing companies to take advantage of options available to increase efficiency. A number of companies offer solutions to improve energy efficiency and here are some of them.



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arorka specialises in energy management systems for ships and ing methods, everything from doors under one square metre for their systems are in several of the fleet’s larger ships, owned by the boom shrimp fishing fleet catching at 2 knots and less, up to Brim and HB Grandi, for example. The system is based on de16 square metre pelagic doors used to catch herring and mackcreasing oil use through optimisation, analerel speeding at 5 knots and more.” ysis and modelling of the ships’ oil use sysAtli says modern and efficient trawl doors tems. For customers with a fleet, the system is save fuel and when looking at the total force online, providing customers with the ability from the fishing gear during traditional botto monitor all of the ships. Sales and markettom fishing, the trawl doors alone represent ing manager Kristinn Aspelund says that afsome 12 to 15% of the resistance. Less efficient ter the system is installed, the oil use of ships trawl doors can increase the resistance from the trawl doors to more than 25%, so it is imis measured on meters. Then, mathematical models are used to analyse use, which can portant to work with efficient trawl doors. With Kristinn Atli Már then be seen by both the crew and the manthe larger fishing gear used when catching oceAspelund. Jósafatsson. agers on land. “We then provide advice on anic redfish, for example, with large pelagic how to maximise energy efficiency, therefore trawls, the trawl doors represent less than 10% saving money. It is clearly effective. Our customers and we have of the resistance. “We have replaced the old model of steel and seen significant changes in oil use after our systems were put in wooden trawl doors with our doors and the client has seen up place. How you direct the ship highly affects energy use.” When to 20% less resistance, but these old model doors are becoming Marorka started operations in 2002, the focus was first and forerarer.” The Icelandic fishing fleet is very modern and skippers are up most on fishing ships. Today the focus has shifted more to the to date in equipment and gear. commercial shipping fleet. The company is selling systems all “We are working on very interesting project which is a remote over the world, most of which are now installed in shipping vescontrollable trawl doors and have made two trial trips on the sels. Marorka has installed systems in most types of ships. KrisIcelandic research vessel Árni Fridriksson. The results were far tinn says there has been an awakening regarding energy use, beyond expectation. We control the water flow through the Powhich has led to improved efficiency. “People are now more focussed on this than before, as it is a huge cost factor. The imseidon remote controllable trawl doors and during the sea trial, proved energy use of ships also makes them more environmenwe changed the distance between the trawl doors from 55 to 72 tally friendly. We emphasise this heavily and received the Envimetres and also moved them closer to the surface, from 16 to ronmental Award of the Nordic Council in 2008. 8 metres. We monitored the resistance during the sea trial and saw the power to the propeller reduced from 510kW down to 455kW,” says Atli, who has great hopes for this new innovation » More efficient trawl doors in trawl doors. Polar Fishing Gear designs and manufactures efficient trawl doors with great spreading force and at the same time, reduced » The propeller is key resistance, says Atli Már Jósafatsson from Polar who has been in Saevar Birgisson, engineer at consulting firm Skipasýn, says the trawl doors business for more than 40 years. that although several positive steps have been taken in energy “We have a good selection of trawl doors suitable for all fish-

Electric winches save money For the last 20 years, Naust Marine has designed and produced management systems for winches on ships. Electrical winches are both more environmentally friendly than hydraulic winches and more energy efficient. “Electrical winches are more economical for the ship’s owner. There is no risk of oil leaks into the sea, as always happens eventually if using conventional hydraulic systems,” says Bjarni Thór Gunnlaugsson, managing director of Naust Marine. He says he find it difficult to understand why hydraulic systems are still being installed in ships. There is a growing awareness of Electrical winches today, especially with increasing oil prices. “There is considerable savings in using electrical systems, and of course they are more environmentally friendly.” Another clear benefit is that electrical cables are simpler to install in new ships, as opposed to hydraulic pipe systems. Bjarni says that in comparing the two systems, it is clear that there is lower maintenance required on the electrical systems and malfunction occurs less often. “Of course this varies somewhat by ship, but we at Naust Marine have over 100 systems in operation today and we can’t fill even one full-time position for a maintenance worker!” The Naust Marine winch management system can be found in ships all over the world. If a breakdown

occurs somewhere, in most cases the analysis can be completed at the headquarters thru the internet and instruction provided in fixing it. Naust Marine systems are found in about 35% of the Icelandic trawling fleet. Bjarni says the reason why the portion isn’t greater is that there has been little renewal of ships in the last six years. Most projects have therefore been abroad. He hopes that this is changing.

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We have replaced the old model of steel and wooden trawl doors with our doors and the client has seen up to 20% less resistance, but the older model doors are becoming a varity .

drive the propeller. “It’s not uncommon for the larger efficiency, little attention has been made to propeller ships to get 10-12 kg of thrust per unit of horse power, and machine efficiency. “The propeller uses 70-90% while the best ships are getting around 20-25 kg. These of the energy on board and a lot of the equipment surare large numbers and a lot of oil can be saved there!” he rounding it is of poor quality in the Icelandic fleet,“ says. The energy efficiency of the propeller isn’t exciting Saevar says. Efficiency is very low. He says that today enough, and the focus is on miniscule things. “Our line most ideas on savings surround machinery designed Sævar Birgisson. fishing fleet, the green one, wastes oil and usually uses to save in specific systems, but the losses there are equipment that was in no way designed for such use. If the trivial compared to the losses in the main engines, those that

Energy use in ships and ways to improve energy efficiency Jón Bernódusson, engineer, Icelandic Maritime Administration

When examining the factors that most significantly effect energy and fuel use for fishing vessels, it makes financial sense to compare fishing methods and catch value pera fishing technique. Fishing companies obviously want to minimise energy costs, making such a comparison is natural when considering costs and revenues. In recent years, a variety of solutions has been proposed for increasing the energy efficiency of ships. They include the use of energy savings systems, analysis of energy-intensity, energy-lean and energy saving fishing equipment, as well as the use of renewable energy sources that meet all the requirements of ship fuel and, in many cases, can be produced here in Iceland. Also important is the ability to utilise heat created by the ship’s engines for energy production. Ideas have been proposed relating to the waste heat created by the ship’s cooling system and the exhaust heat from the main engine. » Ways to energy efficiency Ways toward improved energy efficiency can largely be grouped into the following categories: Energy sources: Diesel oil, heavy oil, biodiesel, hydrogen, ethanol, vegetable oil, wind energy and kinetic energy. Diesel oil will probably remain the main fuel source of ships’ main engines in coming years. Biodiesel is similar to diesel oil with regard to quality and energy content and should be able to replace diesel oil to a greater degree in years to come. Energy saving systems: A variety of energy-saving systems that have been made available to fishing companies. These systems can reduce oil use by 5-10% by monitoring and analysing fuel use. Energy saving methods: Analysis of energy savings according to the fishing method used by vessels. Changing the fishing method can save up to 30% of oil use per the same amount of caught fish. Equipment to protect environment. For the cleaning of lubricants and cleaning exhaust from main engines. Such equipment can decrease the need for lubricants by 50% and filter about 20-50% of poisonous fumes that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere. » Annual oil use The Icelandic fishing fleet uses an average of 150 to 170 thousand tons of ship diesel oil a year. When the oil bought overseas is added, the total amount surpasses 200 thousand tons. Consumption is therefore made up



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of both imported oil and oil that Icelandic fishing vessels have purchased abroad. The oil use of the Icelandic fishing fleet is expected to remain at today’s level of about 200 thousand tons of diesel oil a year for the next ten years. Forecasts beyond that show a proportional increase in fuel use by fishing vessels. The main reason is, according to the Fuel Use Forecast, an increase in the use of other energy sources beside fossil fuels. » Oil use in trawlers surpasses all others Oil use varies by fishing method. In order to compare energy use and total catch from the sea, a selection of so-called oil use standards has been developed. They show energy use in proportion to the amount of fish caught per fishing method. In recent years, a large number of interesting ideas for energy savings in ships has been proposed and many methods have been adopted so as to successfully minimise energy use. The energy use standard for fishing vessels by fishing method, whereby the standard is defined as one kilo of oil per one kilo of caught fish, reveals that energy use by trawlers is much greater than by ships that fish using another method. It is interesting to compare a midwater trawl and a seine when fishing for herring, capelin and blue whiting. Blue whiting is only caught with a midwater trawl. The midwater trawl is more energy intensive, except for when fishing for herring, as the seine is about 30% more energy intensive than the midwater trawl by each caught kilo in 2002. Energy use standards for fishing vessels by fishing method 2002 Fishing method Line, net, hand tools Danish seine Lobster trawl Shrimp trawl (motor vessel) Shrimp trawl (stern trawler) Bottom trawl (motor vessel) Bottom trawl (stern trawler) Seine (capelin) Midwater trawl (capelin) Seine (herring) Midwater trawl (herring) Midwater trawl (blue whiting) Midwater trawl (oceanic redfish)

kg/oil per kg/fish 0,119 0,153 0,361 0,722 0,908 0,297 0,416 0,017 0,027 0,070 0,051 0,075 0,446

Reference: National Energy Authority and Fuel Forecast Committee 2008, p. 22

fleet were using the right equipment, a huge amount of energy savings could be achieved,” Saevar says. A litre of oil is still so low that this makes no difference relative to the catch value. Saevar says that the issue surrounds the equipment overall and the rule is to have the propeller as large as possible. Most often it is too small. “The propeller can be compared to the blades of a wind turbine. There is a reason for them being so large, with thin blades. The same applies to ship propellers. The longer and thinner they are, the higher the efficiency.” Saevar says that the majority of the fleet needs larger propellers, especially the older ships. This results in efficiency being very low, at around 30%. Many producers sell larger and better propellers, Saevar says, but they are more expensive, so the others are bought. “The larger ones are without a doubt the better option and would improve energy efficiency significantly.” n

As the table shows, the fishing equipment used requires a varied amount of energy and requires a specialised application of the ship itself. Fishing equipment can be divided into groups:

or used as supplementary electricity on the ship’s electrical system. It is generally believed that there is significant opportunity to switch the fuel used in shipping vessels so that they use only vegetable oil, biodiesel or another type of organic fuel, instead of ship diesel oil or heavy oil. Technically, it would be possible to n Drawn fishing equipment (bottom trawl, midwater trawl) mitigate the loss of many types of greenhouse gases by up to 70% n Circumferential fishing equipment (seine) through fairly simple means. If an engine uses heavy oil, switchn Stationary fishing equipment (line, net, hand tools) n Various portable fishing equipment (Danish seine). Jón Bernódusson. ing to vegetable oil is a fairly simple task that requires minimal adjustments to the main engine. More adjustments are required for engines powered by ship fuel oil. Biodiesel can replace ship fuel oil There is a great difference in the energy use depending on whethand the same applies to chemical fuels like BtL (Biomass to Liquid) and er ships are fishing by line or trawl. Fishing capacity, measured in kg DME-diesel (dimethyl ether). of oil per kg of fish, is for instance variable as is the efficiency factor It is important to examine the costs incurred by transforming ships’ of the fish type. Changes in weather conditions and environmental main engines such that they can use both vegetable oil and biodiesel. It factors, such as wind load, state of sea and depth of fishing are facshould also be kept in mind that biodiesel currently costs more that dietors that can also have significant influence on the oil use of fishing vessels. Fishing methods used by fishing vessels also vary in energy sel. It is important that biodiesel that is used in ships meets the standintensity. For example, bottom and midwater trawlers need bigger and ards, rules and directives of the government and international bodies, therefore more energy intensive main engines than fishing vessels that and that it is indeed environmentally friendly. The diligent preparation use seines, lines or nets. The load on the main engines of fishing vesfor the use of biodiesel in the main engines of Icelandic ships should commence, guided by the goals of economic efficiency and environmensels can be divided by the following activities: tal benefits. Smaller ships could be addressed first, followed by a steady expansion. n Sailing to fishing grounds Vegetable oil and biodiesel can be produced from Icelandic rapeseed. n Fishing A research project started by the Icelandic Maritime Administration in n Sailing from fishing grounds 2008 has led to many farmers now producing rape and turnip rape. ProWhen it comes to these three main activities, bottom and midwaduction has exceeded expectations. The project pertains to an Icelanter trawlers are the most energy intensive when their powerful main dic energy source that may ensure sustainability in energy production engines are at full capacity while fishing and dragging the trawls. The for the Icelandic fishing fleet in the future. The government has shown main engines of ships that fish with seines, lines or nets are under sigsuch projects a high level of interest. The governing agreement of the new coalition government states: nificantly less pressure during fishing. Some fishing methods can be “It is important to utilise incentive-based actions in the economy to proportionally energy saving compared to bottom and midwater trawls encourage green activities. Environmentally energy sources should be and may improve quality. used in greater amounts in transportation. The diminished use of fossil fuels will be encouraged. The net emission of greenhouse gases must » Ways to save energy be reduced, both through the direct decrease of anthropogenic emisWhen looking at ways to save energy, it may be useful to consider whether it may be beneficial to utilise so-called waste heat, wheresions and through increases in land restoration, afforestation and other methods of improving vegetated areas. The country’s nature is one of its by the heat from exhaust or cooling water is used to produce elecmain resources.” n tricity. The electricity is then fed into the shaft of the main engine

dece mber 2013



All Icelandic seafarers take an accident prevention course


he Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre was founded in 1985 and all seafarers on larger ships are now required to take a course there. Captain Hilmar Snorrason, the school’s principal, was among those receiving the Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Falcon last June 17th. » All seafarers complete course The Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre was founded in 1985, by the Icelandic Accident Prevention Society; the predecessor of the Landsbjörg Accident Prevention Society. Hilmar Snorrason, the school’s principal, said the school offers a variety of courses all designed by type of ship. “All seafarers on larger ships must complete a five day fundamentals course followed by a two day continuing education course every five years. We also have day courses for small ships, as in 2011 a safety education requirement came into force for those who are legally registered for such boats. We also have specialised workshops in fire prevention, use of lifeboats, group management, emergency management, first aid and human resource management, to name a few. We offer the international safety information courses that seafarers must complete in order work at sea both here in Iceland and abroad. All those on commercial fishing ships have to have completed a course within the last five years. There is one exception, however, and that is that those who have never been at sea before can be at sea for up to 180 days prior to completing a course. This was done so as to be able to man ships on short notice, as well as to offer the inexperienced the opportunity to determine whether a life at sea was what they wanted before making them incur high costs. It should noted that the young and less experienced should be under the supervision of more experienced people and are usually kept away from the most dangerous tasks until they have the appropriate experience. » Saebjörg the source of envy All countries engaged in seafaring have schools similar to the Icelandic school. Hilmar is the chairman of the International Association for Safety and Survival Training and is therefore in contact with other such schools around the world. He says that not many of the schools have a training ship such as Saebjörg. “It is nice to be a role model and many of our foreign guests are delighted by the ship and our work on board. I have often said that a good indicator of safety training is the number of fatalities at sea. There has been a significant shift since I took over the school in 1991. Of course there are other factors. This includes a robust weather information system for seafarers, monitoring of ships and their safety equipment, formidable rescue options, but first and foremost, a change in the mentality of seafarers. We only get a positive response from seafarers, who say they are happy to come to school to review procedures for their own safety as well as their co-workers and ships. People often feel the need to learn and some of the men even say they believe they should come more often. We remind them that although the requirement is that they arrive every five years, there is nothing preventing them from coming more often.”



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» Both passion and way of life “Students of the Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre are mostly middle aged, as most seafarers are. Youth as young as 15 can register on board a ship and that is the youngest permitted. There have been both younger and older students, though. The youngest student on one of our training courses was nine. He was accompanied by his grandfather, who is the oldest student I can remember at 86 years of age.” Hilmar is pleased with the success that has been achieved. “Numerous seafarers have told us how they benefitted from the training they received at the school. It is always good to hear and is certainly an incentive for continued work, but we still have a long way to go. Seafarers are still injuring themselves. In recent years we have cooperated closely with insurance companies VÍS and Sjóvá in implementing a risk assessment and incident registry on board the ships these companies are insuring. The purpose is for seafarers to accept responsibility for identifying potential risks on board their ships and develop strong preventative measures on board. I have stated in the past that a job like mine is not some eight-to-five position, but rather a passion and a lifestyle. The wife says it fills my every day, but because seafarers’ safety is my interest, I consider it a

privilege to work in this field. My ultimate dream is to see an accident-free year at sea and I know that threshold will be reached one day through robust preventative measures and vigorous seafarers who will make seafaring the safest job available. I was a member of the Investigative Committee on Accidents at Sea for 18 years, since 1995, and was recently appointed to the Investigative Committee on Transportation Accidents. I have taken the

message of prevention from that job into my training work. I have seen serious accidents decrease significantly since I have participated in the work. I look forward to each workday and arrive with a smile every day knowing that the work we do here significantly affects the lives of seafarers. I feel very good here,� says Hilmar Snorrason, captain and principal of the Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre. n

Hilmar with other employees of The Maritime Safety and Training Centre aboard the cuise ship Costa Pacifica.

dece mber 2013



IFIM December 2013