Battered by extreme weather and sea conditions in a natural environment far more hostile than most other places—Faroese fish farms are built to last, using the most robust equipment in the world, according to Vónin Aquaculture.
For fish farmers in Scotland or Norway, a wave height of 8 meters is rather unthinkable, not to mention a current strength of 0.8 m per second. Now go to the Faroe Islands and you will soon see that such conditions are considered nothing out of the ordinary — that is, they are quite common during winter in certain locations, as measured in 100-hour blocks.
Extreme conditions by Faroese standards, is quite a different thing. Back in November 2011, Landsverk, the Faroese Public Works Agency, recorded wave heights of up to 19.7 m, in fact the highest ever since records began in the late 1960s — possibly the highest on record anywhere, according to the agency.
Even on that occasion, Faroese fish farms largely suffered no significant damages, however one installation had its anchorage compromised and started drifting.
Vónin Aquaculture manager Signar Poulsen said: “But such incidents are extremely rare in the Faroe Islands; I cannot recall any other time that something like this happened.”
Out of a total of ten, two fish farming locations in the Faroe Islands regularly have currents of up to 0.8 m per second while two other have wave heights of up to 8 m. As far as concerns equipment, the ability to withstand the elements is a standard requirement in Faroese fish farming.
Today every aquaculture installation in the Faroes uses equipment from Vónin Aquaculture, according to Mr. Poulsen. “Our offerings range from complete solutions to component parts,” he said, “everything from net cages and floating frames to mooring systems and accessories.”
He added: “Everybody is talking about taking fish farms further out to sea. In the Faroes, I’m afraid we don’t have much choice as the available space in sheltered sea areas is very limited.
“So there is much focus on whether our standard equipment will be robust enough for use offshore. Well, I’d say that some of the farms are already halfway offshore and they are certainly not having issues with the equipment. But the rule of thumb is, the further out you go the more hostile the environment.”