Greinasafni: Icelandic Times
A new take on an age old tradition

- Stakkavík Fish Factory

The Stakkavík Fish Factory in Grindavík has recently diversified in an unexpected direction by offering tourists a look at how fresh fish is processed and packed for export. A unique opportunity, Stakkavík is the first company in Iceland to venture into this arena.

Why has nobody thought of this before? Like many brilliant ideas, it seems so simple once it has been put into practice.

A Powerhouse of the Fishing Industry

Until about 1940, Grindavík only had a few hundred inhabitants. Then a harbour was created to shelter the fishing fleet, and the town started to grow. It is only a short sail to some of the best cod fishing grounds in the world, so growth conditions were excellent. The number of small and medium sized motorised vessels multiplied and fishermen flocked to Grindavík to settle there. In the sixties, the population had grown to about a thousand people, and continued to grow in the seventies and eighties. In recent years growth has slowed, but with a population of about 3000, it is nonetheless one of the powerhouses of the Icelandic fishing industry.

From Salt Fish to Fresh Fish

The company, founded in 1988, started off selling their own salted fish from a 300 square metre building. Over the years, Stakkavík steadily expanded into larger and larger premises, buying fishing boats and fish quotas until finally, it owned no less than thirty fishing boats all over the country. Soon the company started diversifying from salt fish to the packing of fresh fish, which is now the mainstay of production. Today, Stakkavík owns one large long-liner, 6 to 8 smaller fishing boats as well as a fishing quota amounting to 3,100,000 cod.

Exhibiting Fish Processing to Tourists

The practice of exhibiting production processes is a widespread one and an integral part of the tourist industry almost everywhere. In Peking, the enamel and jade factories that once belonged to the emperor are still active and visitors are able to observe artisans hand-painting the porcelain and carving the jade, so it is only natural that the process of fish packing, so central to Icelandic economic life from about 1940 onwards, is shown to tourists.

The Viewing Platform and Restaurant

Originally, the platform where tourists can view the production line was intended as an additional room for a staff dining hall. Then the company started to invite guests, business partners and others, to come and view the production from the platform. From there, the idea developed to invite tourists to come and see the factory. There are already several tourist destinations in Grindavík, the Blue Lagoon, the Salt Fish Museum, the harbour, and now the added the possibility of seeing fish packing in action.

Stakkavik Fish Factory invites you to take a peek into Iceland’s past and to enjoy coffee and a light meal on the premises.

Further information can be found at

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