Mackerel processing in north east coast of Iceland. Social-, economic- and adaptability analysis of the municipality of Vopnafjörður
Vopnafjörður is a small fisheries dependent community on the North East coast of Iceland. The community has experienced fluctuations in the fishing industry over the recent years and had to adapt. After some years of struggle, the local company Tangi was merged into a larger company, HB Grandi. The merger was a success and fish processing in the community is stable. In the recent years mackerel has been migrating more northwest into Icelandic waters and that has benefitted the town of Vopnafjörður, even though that Icelandic mackerel fisheries are of international dispute. To see what kind of effect the mackerel processing has had on the community, a social-economic analysis was structured. In the analysis the demographic changes were observed, along with social and economic effects of the processing. That included observing employment, income revenue of the municipality, social and cultural activity, along with other factors. In addition an adaptability analysis was made in order to identify the process that lead to the stable environment of the fishing industry in the community and to identify the current status. The income of HB Grandi into the community has been very positive. They have invested much in the community and are the largest employer in the municipality. The effects of the mackerel processing are also very positive, especially economically. The social effects are not as positive, for social and cultural participation decreases during seasonal work. Out migration from the municipality has leveled off but there is a housing scarcity which might have effects on future in migration. The population is getting older which results in that houses are not used up to their full capacity. In addition, the social and economic innovation is low, mainly due to high activity of the processing company. The resilience and the adaptability capacity of the community of Vopnafjörður was a key factor in securing the fisheries industry in the municipality. In the process the locals lost control of the industry which might increase their vulnerability in the long term. However, with the introduction of mackerel, the processing became more diverse and therefore stable, which decreases vulnerability. International agreement of catch quota would increase stability and decrease vulnerability in the community. Without merging the local fishing company Tangi into HB Grandi it is doubtful that the community could have benefitted so much from processing mackerel in Vopnafjörður. Without a large investor such as HB Grandi, the community might not have the capacity to engage in processing and therefore they would not have benefitted so much from the increased economic activity with the introduction of mackerel in Icelandic waters.
PublisherUiT The Arctic University of Norway
UiT Norges arktiske universitet
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