Icelandic fishing company HB Grandi continues to make changes to its operations in the wake of the company’s recent changes in ownership and management. Redundancies have been announced at its Vopnafjörður location in eastern Iceland and the crew of one of the company’s demersal trawlers have been given notice.

The reason for taking one fresher trawler out of service is reported to be to reduce the focus on processing redfish catches ashore, and instead for the company’s large redfish quota to be caught more by its factory vessels to be frozen at sea.

The demersal production that was set up recently has also been closed down. This had been established last year to fill the gaps between pelagic seasons at the Vopnafjörður pelagic factory and to maintain activity year-round. Closing this down entails around a dozen redundancies.

According to the company, the pelagic factory has 60 to 65 full-time staff.

‘Demersal production has generally not been as good as it should be and so the decision has been taken to re-organise activity at Vopnafjörður between seasons,’ HB Grandi stated.

‘There are no plans to reduce HB Grandi’s activity at Vopnafjörður where a high-capacity pelagic factory and fishmeal plant are in operation. The aim is to maintain activity at Vopnafjörður between seasons, but how this is to be done is being examined and no decisions have been taken.’

According to the AFL union, the eleven redundancies at Vopnafjörður follow three earlier redundancies, plus two of the factory staff have left and are not being replaced, making 16 fewer jobs in total.

The union points out that in this sparsely populated part of Iceland, this would be equivalent to 5600 lost jobs in the Reykjavík region.

AFL states that the redundancies extend largely to people living in neighbouring Bakkafjörður, where there is no longer any fish processing, while plans to develop processing in Vopnafjörður have been shelved.

Source: AFL, HB Grandi