Famous TV chef, Jamie Oliver is being inundated with comments from angry Icelanders on his Facebook page after posting a photo of controversial Arnarlax salmon farm – where the chef intends to source fish – and claiming they are sustainable and responsible.
Oliver, who is planning on opening a restaurant in Iceland later this year, posted a photo of the fish farm complimenting its “stunning” location.
This kicked off a torrent of comments from Icelanders arguing that fish farming was far from sustainable and posed an environmental threat to Iceland via the diseases, parasites and fish lice often found in farmed fish.
“This particular farmer is working very closely with environmentalists to assess its impact on the environment,” Jamie’s social media team responded to the outrage. “The farmer operates without using any chemicals or antibiotics. We are very aware that not all fish farms are the same, which is why we go to such lengths to assess our suppliers, and only work with people who share our views and ethos.”
Unfortunately for Jamie Oliver however, the Icelanders really dug their heels in, retorting that Arnarlax Fish Farm is currently fighting disputed licenses and lawsuits for threatening native Icelandic salmon stocks.
“This salmon farm has imported fertile Norwegian salmon into Iceland, and is for sure not working with any environmentalists – they in fact mock them in the local Icelandic media,” Haraldur Eiríksson, a Sales Manager at Hreggnasi Angling Club, wrote in reply to Jamie Oliver’s Facebook post. “Over 1.900 Icelandic farmers are running a lawsuit against this farm as we speak. And you guys show up and buy their Norwegian salmon? You can expect a major boycott amongst the local people over here.”
One of the main worries is that the Norwegian salmon grown at Arnarlax will escape and permanently harm and weaken the local salmon and trout stocks – something that happened recently in Scotland.
While Arnarlax farm say they have surveillance videos monitoring the cages where the Norwegian salmon are kept, spokesman for Icelandic fish farms, Einar K. Guðfinnsson, has said that no one can guarantee that an escape won’t happen.