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The sea blood red with algae

16.09.2021 - 12:24
Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland is experiencing a major algal bloom, and the fjord is blood red to the eye. Such an algal bloom killed nearly all farmed fish in the same fjord some 20 years ago and anti-aquaculture campaigners warn against plans to start farming fish in Seyðisfjörður again.

The bloom of algae can be clearly seen from the shore, but is even better-observed from above, as the above video (in Icelandic) shows.

Sigfinnur Mikaelsson farmed fish in the fjord for 12 years, until 1998. Now he campaigns against fish farming—partly because of personal experience. “There were various problems that came up, but one was always in the spring and autumn. That was the algae problem. In 1997, there was a bloom like here now. The sea became dark and muddy and overnight all the fish were killed and the pens were in trouble when we went out again in the morning. This algae we see now is so-called poison algae. It sucks up the oxygen and settles on the fish’s gills and kills it. It [the fish] dies and just sinks to the bottom,” Sigfinnur says. 

“I am bringing this up first and foremost because planned here is a 10,000-tonne farm which is in the consultation stage at the planning agency. We can see the sea now. I would not want to have 10,000 tonnes of salmon farming in the fjord today. I can practically guarantee that the fish would all end on the bottom these nights, based on my experience of this,” Sigfinnur adds. 

The cause of the algal over-bloom in Seyðisfjörður is not clear and is not being researched, as far as RÚV could ascertain. 

“But to plan to put down 10,000 tonnes of aquaculture here then I think, with all due respect to those behind this, that they should let the Norwegian investor know about the situation. Because this will come back again. This is not the first time and not the second time. This situation has arisen many times here and the fish don’t survive when this happens. And this is over the whole fjord and people have even noticed this in Borgarfjörður-eystri,” Sigfinnur says. 

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