Jónas R. Viðarsson

Director of Division of value creation

The Fishing industries and Matís – Long and fruitful cooperation

The research and scientific work of Matís is usually done in close co-operation with Icelandic companies and also with companies in other countries. This aspect of Matís’ work, which has been the fundamental reason for the great progress made in handling and processing of sea products in Iceland, has been noticed abroad.

Ms. Solveig Anspaker, former Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, was impressed to learn about this close co-operation of the academia, institutions and companies in the seafood sector. The international corporation, Nestlé, had heard of Matís’ good results with handling and cooling of fish and approached Matís with a large research program concerning better process control for frozen fish. Findings from such projects are partly in the public domain. This widens Matís’ knowledge-base and will eventually also be useful for Icelandic companies.

Close co-operation with industry

The value of exported fresh fish from Iceland has increased significantly with improved methods of handling and cooling of the catch. The annual export of fresh fish amounts to about ISK 40-45 billion. If the same volume was to be exported frozen, the value would be only half this amount.

The great success achieved in handling and cooling sea products can largely be attributed to research carried out by experts from Matís and universities, in close co-operation with fishing companies, and to endless urge to improve the handling, cooling and utilization of the catch. The shelf-life of cod filets has almost doubled with proper handling and cooling, which results in higher value of fresh fish. Much has been achieved during recent years, but the tasks ahead are also numerous.