Pioneers in exporting
Fiskkaup Ltd is a family business which was founded in 1983 by Jón Ásbjörnsson and family, but the company’s history dates from 1950 when Jon and his father had a fishmonger’s shop and processed lumpfish at the harbour in Reykjavík. The third generation is at the helm today, and Jón’s son, Ásbjörn, is the managing director.
Fiskkaup’s initial business plan was to buy fish and send it, salted or fresh, in containers to sell in the UK fish markets. Export opportunities had recently opened, initiated by Jón Ásbjörnsson himself. Fresh fillets were also transported by air. In about 1988, Fiskkaup was the first fishery in Iceland to be permitted to sell its own salt fish products directly, bypassing the monopoly of the Sales Union of Icelandic Fish Producers (SÍF) which had existed until then. At first the permit applied only to the sale of salt fish fillets to Spain, but it was a considerable advantage because higher prices were paid for the company’s excellent products, and it was also possible to establish good relationships with customers.
The company grew rapidly after this and soon opened branches widely in Iceland. Reductions in the fishing quota and increased competition for raw materials after 1995 called for adjustments within Fiskkaup, and operations were combined on one site at Reykjavík harbour. The company started fishing in 1994, after buying its first longliner, and became less dependent on the internal market as a supplier of raw materials; this lead to greater stability in production.
Today, the company operates one longline ship and a smaller longline boat which provide the company with a constant source of fresh fish. In 2009, Fiskkaup moved to new premises by Reykjavík harbour, specially designed for the company’s activities and with exceptionally good facilities.