National Geographic : 2013 Jun
136 national geographic • June 2013 worn, but most of the millionaires who sat on it were put out of business long ago by the seafood companies down south and their fleets of factory ships. All but one of Skrova’s fish factories have closed, the most recent in 2000. With the loss of jobs, the island’s population has dwindled to about 150 full-time residents. Only Ellingsen’s, an old family-run seafood company, remains in business. It’s still prosper- ous, nowadays turning out 12,000 tons a year of its own locally farmed salmon and, for a few weeks each summer, buying whale meat from the handful of whalers who still work these waters. “ To be honest, whale meat isn’t really com- mercial for us anymore,” says 42-year-old Ulf Christian Ellingsen, the third generation of his family to run the company. “We continue to buy it mainly out of respect for tradition and our old roots. My grandfather Skrova’s most significant export these days isn’t salmon or whale; rather, it’s children who must leave home to attend high school. Russian tourists pose in the prow of a replica longship at the Lofotr Viking Museum on Vestvågøy. Jobs in tourism and the oil industry appeal to local young people more than traditional livelihoods tied to land and sea. On Røst an abandoned sheep hut (right) testifies to the changing times.