Fire factory move spurs local hope
It was the 28th May when Hrísey Seafood lost the majority of its main building to the fire that thereby threw its 15-or-so employees into uncertainty. It was the North Iceland island’s biggest employer by some margin. The fire also had a major impact on the crew of the two fishing boats that provided the factory with much of its seafood.
The fire was a major catastrophe for the local community, but things are now moving in the right direction. “Yes, it is positive news that we are actually preparing to try and re-start our basic operations,” says Sigurður Jóelsson, one of the owners of Hrísey Seafood.
The company has now bought a building from Byggðastofnun (the Icelandic Regional Development Institute), right opposite the building that burnt down, and work is now underway to change and renew the building and to apply for an operating licence. The company also needs to buy all-new equipment. Sigurður says the plan is to start small, processing only the catch from the company’s own boats, and then to expand slowly back to full operation.
It is still too early to say exactly when production will start, Sigurður says, but adds it is very important for the community to know that it definitely will. “People have become a bit down because nothing was happening and people worried that it might be a long time, which I can totally appreciate. Things haven’t moved as fast as we would have liked. There seems to be a bit of a clunky system around the insurance companies when it comes to how to sort this all out. So it was very much time to give some hope that something is going to start happening again.”