Fishy business in the Icelandic Fjord

When a wooden shaped shark pointed the way to the museum, I had a feeling this was a must-see.
The Bharnarhofn Shark museum sits below a dramatic mountain side, by the coast on the north side of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. From afar, you would think it was a typical Icelandic farmstead.


In actual fact, this is the place where roughly 60 Greenlandic sharks per annum meet their end to satisfy the tastebuds of local people.
Apparently these Sharks are fished only for Iceland and no other country is interested in the meat. It’s not surprising really when the fermenting process takes near enough 6 months before the ammonia levels have dropped enough that it is safe to eat.

Orginally these 10ft beauties were used primarily for their liver and the making of oil. A lot of people became sick from attempting to eat the meat fresh and gave up trying for a long time.

As part of the price I was given the opportunity to try this Icelandic delicacy.
The smell was unbearable and almost put me off. However the bite size chunk, accompanied by Rye bread, didn’t actually taste too bad. In fact it didn’t really taste of anything and can be best described as that of a mushroom.

It truly fascinates me that so much effort goes in for such a bland reward. Of course local traditions should be respected and I feel that as long as it stays only within Iceland then it is an attraction without too many detrimental effects.


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