The Shark Farm at Bjarnarhöfn (Museums in Strange Places S01 E22)

Iceland has a lot of weird traditional foods, but nothing compares to fermented shark meat. The family at Bjarnarhöfn has been hunting and fermenting shark meat for nearly 400 years, although today they only process bycatch Greenland sharks. Many years ago, the family opened a Shark Museum at the farm to share their traditions and introduce the world to “hákarl”. In this episode, I get an inside look at how one family continues this traditional method of de-toxifying shark meat while sharing their craft with anyone who’s brave enough to take a bite.

(To take advantage of the special offer in the episode, you can send me a message via Twitter, Instagram, or email.)

This episode is sponsored by Locatify. The featured song in this episode is “Mamma þarf að djamma” by Baggalútur.

This episode is sponsored by Locatify. Locatify is an Icelandic software company specializing in mobile apps that use location technologies for Immersive audio guides, treasure hunt games, Augmented Reality and indoor GPS.

How to Listen to Museums in Strange Places

Welcome to Museums in Strange Places. I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, and this is a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world.

In this season of the podcast, I’m visiting the museums of Iceland to discover what stories they hold and how they reflect and shape Iceland’s unique cultural identity.

The podcast is hosted by me, Hannah Hethmon, an American Fulbright Fellow living in Reykjavík. You can find and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @hannah_rfh (I love to hear from listeners FYI).

The podcast is available on all podcast players and apps, just search “Museums in Strange Places” on any podcast listening platform:

Learn More

Hákarl entry in Atlas Obscura

Photos of the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum

Cutting up the shark before fermentation. Photo via the Shark Museum.
Fermented shark and rye bread!
Kristján shows us a piece of cartilage from a shark.
Bjarnarhöfn. Photo via the Shark Museum.
A Greenland Shark
Fermented shark meat hanging up to dry.
Fermented shark meat hanging up to dry.
My uncle and I pose with the stinky drying shark meat a few weeks after my first visit (just had to come back!)
Three sharks newly arrived from Reykjavík.
Three sharks newly arrived from Reykjavík.
Welcome to the Shark Farm!

The Shark Museum
The Shark Museum
The Shark Museum
The view from the museum window.
Fermented shark and rye bread.
Shark skin.
Shark eggs.
Shark eggs.

Sealskin found in a shark’s stomach.
Pieces of animals removed from sharks’ stomachs that suggest it’s a scavenger.
Nutritional properties of Hákarl.
Thanks for helping with this episode Rachel!
An Icelandic horse on the farm gets up from a roll.
Aurora Borealis over Bjarnarhöfn. Photo via the Shark Museum.
Rachel meets the deaf, blind farm dog.
The farm at Bjarnarhöfn
The land around the farm.
The Shark Farm’s “Driveway” that cuts through a lava field.
Bjarnarhöfn as seen from the mountain road back to Reykjavík.
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