The future of sustainable seafood – how Matorka is transforming aquaculture

When it comes to sustainable fisheries, the list of countries that have managed their stocks as well as Iceland is short. In the 1970s, Iceland figured out that to prevent the collapse of its cod fisheries—and the basis of its economy— its fishing future required strict management. To this day, Iceland continues to manage a wide range of fish stocks found in its waters through stringent monitoring and science-based catch quotas.


Land-based fish farming has been practiced for thousands of years around the world. However, Icelandic company Matorka has transformed the process into the 21st century using renewable energy, thoughtful designs, and high-tech monitoring systems. Matorka is a clever combination of the Icelandic words “mat,” which means food, and “orka,” which means energy—food energy. The company is transforming Iceland’s geothermal energy and abundant clean water into the perfect habitat to grow fish.


Founded in 2010, Matorka’s mission is to produce Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and global Good Aquaculture Practice (GAP) certified premium Arctic char and steelhead. From egg to final harvest, the company monitors and controls all steps of a fish’s lifecycle. Since the fish grow in land-based tanks, the water temperature and oxygenation can be optimally kept. Unlike sea-based aquaculture, the waters are free of parasites and pathogens. Best of all, the fish need no antibiotics, chemicals, or hormones, and their feed is all-natural and sustainable. While land-based aquaculture currently represents a mere fraction of wild-caught fish, the process and technologies are evolving rapidly with tremendous potential to scale up operations.


Globally, protein demand is increasing. There will need to be a transformational shift in food production across all sectors to meet these needs. Moreover, consumers are demanding sustainability and full traceability of their food, particularly seafood. Matorka is uniquely positioned to answer these consumer needs and to provide the healthiest product possible. Land-based fish farming may lack the romance of long-line fishing, but there are undoubtedly many fish stocks that could use a reprieve from the world’s overfished oceans.


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