Mink farms in Iceland have been operating at a loss for three years now, and the owner of the largest mink farm in Iceland has decided that 2019 will be his last chance to save his business.
As RÚV reports, when mink skins were at their highest value, in 2013, they went for 12,500 ISK a piece while costing 6,000 ISK a piece to produce. Today, a mink skin is only worth 3,100 ISK, but the cost of production remains the same. A combination of overproduction and a strengthening króna have contributed to the situation.
Einar Eðvald Einarsson, the chair of the Association of Icelandic Fur Farmers and the owner of the largest mink farm in the country, points out that ten fur farms have gone under in the past two years alone. Last Monday, the fur auction in Copenhagen, where Icelandic furs are sold, did not go well, but Einar hangs onto a shred of optimism. An auctioneer told him that the fur supply is dropping, which in theory should lead to higher prices.
“They convinced us that better times will soon come,” Einar told reporters. “We need to hang in there just a little bit longer. Of course, I’m a bit worried that not everyone will last that long. But I hope that everyone currently in the business will be able to, and that prices will go back up.”
With uncertainty ahead for the industry, Einar has made a personal decision to make 2019 his make-or-break year.
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.