Heavy snow on the east of Iceland and a high risk of avalanches has held up processing the last few landings made to Síldarvinnslan’s production plants in Neskaupstaður and Seyðisfjörður.
The decision was taken to evacuate both locations due to the possibility of slides from the mountain slopes above. The Neskaupstaður plant had 900 tonnes of capelin left to process and 1000 tonnes were still to be processed at the Seyðisfjörður factory.
According to production manager Hafthór Eiríksson, the final capelin landing of the season to Neskaupstaður was made by Greenlandic pelagic vessel Polar Ammassak on Saturday, with the catch routed to roe production. Production manager Eggert Ólafur Einarsson at the Syeðisfjörður plant said that their final landing was 1200 tonnes landed by Vilhelm Thorsteinsson on Sunday.
Production was wound down with a skeleton staff when the decision was taken to evacuate, in consultation with the Met Office.
The Neskaupstaður plant’s factory manager Geir Sigurpáll Hlöðversson said that production had been completed before the situation arose.
‘We finished freezing capelin roe on Saturday night and finished cleaning on Sunday, so there were no staff at work as the hazard situation arose,’ he said.
Factory manager Ómar Bogason at the Seyðisfjörður factory reported that yesterday morning the decision had already been taken to cancel shifts, due to bad weather and difficult travelling conditions.
‘Then came the request to evacuate,’ he said. ‘Today [fresher trawler] Gullver came in with 85 tonnes of mixed fish, and that has all been sent for processing elsewhere.
As the hazardous situation is expected to last for the rest of the week, the capelin stored in the chilled tanks will have to wait a few more days before being processed.
Image: Síldarvinnslan/Hjörvar Moritz Sigurjónsson