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BioPol ehf., Marine Biotechnology Science Hotel in Skagaströnd

BioPol is a marine biotechnology company established on Sept. 1st 2007. It is located in Skagaströnd in Northwest Iceland. The goal of the company is to examine the biota of Húnaflói-bay, undertake research in the field of biotechnology and support innovation in the field of marine biotechnology. Moreover, the company intends to undertake the marketing and sale of products and services based on marine resources. The policies of BioPol are being based on four main principals:

  • Research on the biology of Húnaflói-bay and the neighbouring continental shelf with the goal of increasing knowledge of its ecology and possibilities for better and innovative utilization of marine resources.
  • Marketing of marine biotechnological products and services.
  • Education, at university level, in connection with the above research.
  • Preservation of marine specimens.

The company is a “private stock company” and all shares are currently owned by the Municipality of Skagaströnd. The company is financed from the state budget and by research grants. Small income comes from services provided; however, our goal is to increase this part of our businesses in the near future. The initial investment by the municipality and the money from the state budget are part of structural support to the area as to compensate for decreased fishing quota in the area and the subsequent lack of employment. The company and its staff are independent from official and private interests and BioPol has been asked to conduct surveys and write reports for the Ministry of Fisheries and private companies.

The core operations of the science hotel are based on research of the biota of Húnaflói-bay. The goals are, among other things, directed toward the possibility of utilising seafood without previously defined use or known characteristics. Moreover, our research is directed toward environmental monitoring, with particular emphasis on monitoring changes in the biota, its causes and consequences.

Co-operation will be developed with comparable research laboratories in the field of ecosystems research, both in Iceland and overseas. It is anticipated that domestic research laboratories in this field will form a knowledge base, and in addition, good relations will be developed with overseas research laboratories such as the Scottish Association for Marine Science. Particular emphasis will be placed on forming relationships with research laboratories in the field of marine biology and biotechnology in the UK and Norway.

In research in the field of marine biotechnology, emphasis will be placed on mapping out known resources as well as seeking new ways to generate value from seafood. Particular emphasis in this respect is on supplements, cosmetics and additives for the food and feed industry.

BioPol has signed partnership contracts and/or letters of intent for co-operation with the following universities and research laboratories: The University of Akureyri, the Institute of Fresh Water Fisheries in Iceland and the Scottish Association for Marine Science. It is anticipated that the first research projects undertaken by BioPol ehf will involve the behavioural patterns of lumpfish and new utilisation possibilities. Also planned is a seal research project in co-operation Erlingur Hauksson and the Icelandic Seal Centre in Hvammstangi. There have also been ideas to launch a monitoring project to monitor the ecosystem of Húnaflói-bay.

BioPol has been involved in many research projects, both regional and nationwide. Our main projects have been:

  • Isolation and characterization of different thraustochytrium species from Icelandic waters
  • Utilization of Lumpfish skin (Cyclopterus lumpus), in collagen production. Transfer of knowledge and production-technology.
  • Biology and behaviour of Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) around Iceland, development of new exploitation methods and strategies.
  • Life history, population structure and ecological impact of Angler fish (Lophius piscatorius) in recently colonised waters
  • Assessment of the Common whelk (Buccinum undatum) population in Húnaflói bay
  • Assessment of the Icelandic Scallop (Chlamys islandica) population in Húnaflói bay with regard to diseases
  • Studies on the diet of different seal species around Iceland
  • Organic Seaweed Extract
  • Monitoring of different areas in Húnaflói bay – Opportunities in Mussel (Mytilus edulis) farming

BioPol has currently six employees on permanent basis, two biologists, a biochemist, aquaculture specialist (resource studies), a fishery technologist and one researcher. Students from universities and other part-timers have as well been working on some temporary projects.