Mink farms have been operating at a loss in Iceland for the past three years now, with five farms going under this autumn alone. They are seeking government subsidies to keep the business afloat, but more farmers are considering giving up the profession altogether, RÚV reports.
Five mink farmers have already quit the profession this autumn, leaving 13 mink farms in Iceland. By comparison, there were once 240 mink farms at the peak of demand, in the 1980s. The farms are now operating at such a loss that each mink skin gives returns of only roughly half of what it costs to “produce” one.
While many farmers blame the weakening króna for the situation, it is conceivable that demand for fur coats and mink stoles is not what it used to be forty years ago.
As such, the farmers are seeking increased subsidies from the government in order to stay afloat, to the tune of 200 million ISK per year for the next three years, with half going directly to the farmers themselves and the other half going to fodder supplies. However, the current budget allocates 30 million ISK to the profession.
Wild minks do exist in Iceland, descended from farmed varieties who were brought to the country some 50 years ago and managed to escape, and while mostly regarded as pests, some Icelanders have taken proactive measures to deter trapping. Mink farms themselves have often been at odds with the locals, as the run-off from them can be toxic.