Creating value for the cod industry - Feed development for an emerging aquaculture species

by Torben M. Nissen & Dr. Florian Nagel, Aller Aqua Research GmbH

Atlantic cod – a culture-defining species and geopolitical resource

Late August 1973, Halldór Hallfreðsson, an engineer on the Icelandic Coast Guard Vessel ICGV Ægir tries to repair the hull of the ship after a collision with the British frigate HMS Apollo. During a manoeuvre to avoid another clash with the British tug Statesman, Hallfreðsson was surprised by sea water flooding the compartment he was working in, leading to a fatal electrocution caused by his welding equipment. This accident happened during a series of militarized interstate disputes between the UK (and Western-Germany) on the one and Iceland on the other hand, referred to as the “Cod Wars”. The conflict started in the early 1950’s and continued to the mid 1970’s, including several ramming attacks, cutting off trawls, economic sanctions, and Iceland’s threat to leave NATO in the middle of the cold war. Finally, a United Nations agreement of increasing the size of the exclusive economic zones to 200 nautical miles ended the dispute, protecting one ofIceland’s most important export commodities, the Atlantic cod. This brief historic summary, alongside plenty of cultural references such as the motif on the Norwegian 200 NOK bill (figure 1) or the “Sacred Cod”, a wooden effigy in the Massachusetts State House originating from the 18th century, underlines the enormous economic and cultural importance of the Atlantic cod.