July 23, 2024

The Historic Fish Shacks

The fish shacks you will see here and there when you drive around Iceland is a landmark of importance in the history of the island in the north. 

The shacks have one purpose; to dry seafood of many types. Back in the days dry fish (“harðfiskur”) was produced in the shacks, but today it is mostly dried with modern machinery, a process that mimics the craft of days gone by. However, there are craftsmen that still use the shack to produce the healthy gourmet product filled with protein.

Another product processed in the shacks are dried sharks (“hákarl”). These are the ones that smell like straight out of hell. Only the toughest can handle the strong aroma. It is not uncommon to use Icelandic schnapps to swallow the thing. However, shark products are considered very healthy. No pain no  gain.

To me the shacks are an important link in the survival of my nation at the edge of the inhabitable world. Their structure seems suited to survive every winter storm thrown at them wherever they are located.  The shacks are rough, tough and do their job splendidly.