Top Int’l Construction Video Channel Features Faroe Tunnels

This is The World's Most Remote Infrastructure Project B1M, a leading international video channel focusing on construction, has released a 30-minute documentary to highlight the road infrastructure of the Faroe Islands, in particular the two latest undersea tunnels, the Eysturoy Tunnel (Eysturoyartunnilin) and the Sandoy Tunnel (Sandoyartunnilin). Narrated and hosted by B1M founder Fred Mills, the documentary ‘This is The World’s Most Remote Infrastructure Project’ provides an inside view of what Mr. Mills calls “one of the longest undersea tunnels in the world” to “find something that doesn’t exist anywhere else—an entire roundabout sat beneath an ocean.” “Incredibly, it’s just one part of a huge new tunnel network across a tiny island nation many won’t have even heard of,” we’re told. Referring to the remoteness or “isolation” of the island nation in the Northeast Atlantic and its tiny population of less than 55,000, the video points out that the Faroes “has just completed a series of projects that much larger countries could only dream of.” “So, how has this remote set of islands managed to pull off a task that would be extremely difficult—or next to impossible—in most other places? And why? What are its secrets, and perhaps most importantly, how has this changed the lives of the people here?” The film takes the viewer on a trip across the islands and follows Teitur Samuelsen, CEO of Eystur- og Sandoyartunlar, the government-controlled owner-operator of the Eysturoy Tunnel and the Sandoy Tunnel, down to the deep under one of the tunnels to take a look at a water drainage system installed there. “How does a place like this sustain itself?” Mr. Mills continues, adding, “the same thing they’ve been doing here for centuries—fishing. The industry represents a staggering 90 percent of total exports, and delivers 20 pc. of its GDP. Now, the Faroe Islands is looking to diversify, using its other prize asset—that incredible scenery—to attract more overseas tourists and famous YouTubers.” “At the same time,” he further points out, “it wants to make this a better—and less isolated—place to live for as many people as possible by fixing a common problem that far-flung locations like this often run into: the lack of large-scale infrastructure. That’s always made getting about pretty challenging and incredibly weather dependent.” Even as Mr. Samuelsen offers details on the construction and financing of the undersea tunnels, we’re likewise presented with, for instance, Sandoy residents who, from their point of view, explain the significance of a fixed link to the mainland as provided by the Sandoy Tunnel. Boasting over 24 million monthly viewers, the B1M channel seeks to “inspire a better industry by sharing knowledge and expertise with a mass audience” and to “attract the best talent by showing construction at its best to millions.”

FarCargo Makes History as First Load Takes Off

Forklifting boxes of fresh salmon into FarCargo’s new terminal at Vagar Airport, March 5th, 2024. Image credits: Bui Tyril.
Air freight to and from the Faroe Islands has moved to a new level with the introduction of FarCargo, a dedicated freight airline that began cargo operations yesterday. On the previous day, FarCargo’s aircraft—a converted Boeing 757 passionately named Eysturoy after the island hosting its owner’s headquarters—arrived at Vagar Airport for the first time to the cheers of crowds, with a grand reception held the following day at the airport terminal. Meanwhile, to accommodate the new operator, a special cargo terminal has been completed in one of the existing buildings at Vagar Airport. Built in 2001, the former passenger plane has a hold capacity of 35 tonnes. The primary function will be to fly salmon products from Bakkafrost to clients in the United States, initially twice a week and later more frequently, ultimately five times a week, according to FarCargo chief executive Birgir Nielsen. “On March 5th, 2024, at 19:22 local time, FarCargo’s Boeing 757, named Eysturoy, departed the Faroe Islands for New Jersey, USA for the very first time,” FarCargo announced last night. “The cargo onboard is premium fresh salmon from Bakkafrost, harvested in the Faroe Islands.” No wonder the historic occasion was celebrated in the Faroese media. As the cargo plane took off on Tuesday evening, carrying its first load of fresh salmon from FarCargo owner Bakkafrost, a new reality has emerged—a major exporter in the Faroe Islands now ships fresh fish overseas by air in quantities. Simultaneously, new opportunities for imports by air present themselves with all the capacity available on the return flights. The subject of using cargo aircraft for export shipments been discussed through decades, often with little conviction that it would ever materialize—until now that it’s all changed.
The Eysturoy loaded for the first time, shortly before taking off on March 5th, 2024. Image credits: Birgir Nielsen—FarCargo.
“This enables us to gain market access for fresh products,” FarCargo’s other chief executive, Hanus Jacobsen, noted. “We’ll have the airplane departing the Faroes fully loaded, whereas for the return, we’ll be looking to sell that hold capacity. There are lots of opportunities, such as fresh fruit—much of the fruit we currently get in the Faroes is not very fresh… As a Faroese, I think it’s great that we’ll now be able to import fresh fruit almost on a daily basis, from either the US or Europe. Also this will make it possible in urgent situations to get large items such as machinery components air lifted to the Faroes. This has previously not been possibly in the same way. I think this will bring many new opportunities that we may not have been much aware of. And that’s exciting.”

Top-Notch Fishing Vessels Strengthen Framherji

One of the main players in the Faroese fishing business, Fuglafjørður’s Framherji, remains on a steady course even as significant changes are taking place in the company. With a younger generation taking over the leadership mantle as majority owners Anfinn Olsen and Elisabeth Eldevig slowly move aside, it was announced in July 2023 that the couple have bought out former co-owners Samherji, of Iceland, who in turn have acquired the Framherji-owned stake in their firm. The transactions mark the end of a long-standing partnership that goes back to 1994—in Framherji’s words, “a successful cooperation” which both parties on various occasions have praised. Both companies, however, are going through generational change and opted to increase the focus of their holdings.
Freezer trawler Akraberg. Image credits: Tórik Ábraham Rouah.
Framherji owns and operates pelagic vessels Fagraberg and soon-to-be-replaced Høgaberg, freezer trawler Akraberg, and freezer longliners Jógvan I and Stapin. The company holds a 50-percent stake in Runavík-based fishing enterprise Faroe Origin, which in turn owns and operates two onshore fish processing plants plus fresher pair teams Stelkur-Bakur and Heykur-Falkur.  As part of the buy-out of Samherji, the Icelanders likewise sold their shares in Faroe Origin to Framherji, thereby simplifying the ownership structure in Faroe Origin, which is now 50-50 between Framherji and Gøta’s Varðin.
Framherji managing partner Anfinn Olsen. Image credits: Maria Olsen.
“Faroe Origin may benefit from this more streamlined share of ownership interests,” Mr. Olsen noted. “It may shorten some decision-making processes, which of course can be advantageous.”  Faroe Origin could indeed need an extra advantage given the low supply of saithe which for years has hampered the company’s ability to operate at optimum efficiency levels. That issue, however, is likely to remain for now as its resolution may require some reconsiderations concerning area closure policies under the government’s fisheries management. Freezing at sea As for Framherji’s fishing fleet, the new 84-meter Akraberg, delivered in July 2022, has provided an upgrade to the company’s Barents Sea fishing business at multiple levels, from catch to energy efficiency to crew comfort. “One of the most advanced factory vessels afloat,” as per online fishing magazine ‘Hook & Net’, who further noted that the freezer trawler “incorporates a wealth of technology with its advanced catch handling systems for both whitefish and shrimp.” “The Akraberg has since day one made highly effective fishing trips to the Barents Sea returning time and again earlier than expected loaded with headed and gutted frozen cod,” Mr. Olsen said.
Purse seiner/pelagic trawler Høgaberg, scheduled to be replaced in June by a newbuild of the same name. Image credits: Framherji.
In the pelagic business, the new Høgaberg—scheduled for delivery in June this year (2024)—is poised to up the ante yet some for Framherji, in particular on mackerel and herring. Built by Denmark’s Karstensens Skibsværft, the 88-meter vessel will in part focus on purse seine-caught mackerel for Japanese buyers willing to pay a premium for superior product quality. Packed with the latest technology in everything from bridge electronics through deck equipment to fish room and tanks, the Høgaberg will be fitted with refrigerated seawater (RSW) tanks as well as a freezing plant—something that goes beyond the run-of-the-mill Faroese pelagic vessel and is more typical of, say, the Dutch.
Pelagic trawler Fagraberg. Image credits: Framherji.
Pelagic trawler Fagraberg, with an exceptional track record in particular on blue whiting, is not in for replacement. Built in 1999, the vessel was purchased by Framherji in 2006. “Blue whiting is very much a game of catching large volumes quickly,” Mr. Olsen said. “The Fagraberg was an excellent investment as it turned out, and still performs well.”
Freezer longliner Jógvan I. Image credits: Framherji.
The bulk of the Faroese fleet of long­liners nowadays, meanwhile, comes equipped with freezing capacity, something that has proved vital for profitability. Framherji’s freezer longliners Stapin and Jógvan I are no exception to the rule with highly successful operations. 
Freezer longliner Stapin. Image credits: Framherji.
“It’s crucial for the longliners to be able to freeze their catch at sea. Without that capacity, they become very restricted in the sense that they will need to limit their fishing trips to only a few days in order for their catch to retain good product quality. The problem is, to fish cod in sufficient quantities using longline takes some time; so if you’re going to spend sufficient time on a fishing trip, you need a way to make sure the fish you get stays fresh—which is why freezing the fish immediately after catching it makes perfect sense. That way you can take your time and be sure to bring in top quality catch in decent volumes.” Print Edition… 

Fish Farming Tech Firm GroAqua Joins Forces with Norway’s Havida to Boost Int’l Position

Faroese aquaculture technology developer GroAqua is merging with Norwegian technology specialist Havida, the companies announced. “Havida from Norway and GroAqua, two technology companies specializing in aquaculture feeding and sustainable fish growth, are merging,” the statement read. “This strategic alliance strengthens their positions in the international market by providing innovative technological solutions for sustainable fish growth.”  Havida, an innovative aquaculture technology company, holds a strong market position in northern and central Norway, we’re told.   “At GroAqua, we’ve met a strong and positive team with deep commitment to their high-quality work,” Havida CEO Tomas Sund was quoted as saying. “They really share our vision. Partnering with GroAqua will help boost our growth, driven by an ambitious expansion strategy in the Norwegian market and will create job opportunities along the coastline.”   Over the past 52 years, GroAqua has been a key contributor to fish farming growth in the Northeast Atlantic region. The company is well established internationally with operations in Scotland, the Faroe Islands, Denmark, and Poland. GroAqua specializes in facilitating sustainable fish growth by remotely monitoring and controlling the feeding and breeding process—both in seawater and freshwater.  “We are excited to welcome the skilled team from Havida,” Suni Justinussen, CEO of GroAqua, commented. “Our highly qualified personnel across Norway, Scotland, Poland, Denmark, and the Faroe Islands are committed to deliver unparalleled service to our clients in these regions. With our broad product portfolio and production capacity, we have positioned ourselves firmly in the international market.”  “Havida and GroAqua complement each other in terms of products, culture and ambitions and will drive industry-wide innovation,” the announcement further read. “The merged entity will deliver a broad set of products and services, ranging from simple solutions to extensive projects, complete with installation and after-sales service.”  The management of Havida will become shareholders in GroAqua along with the remaining leadership of GroAqua and the industrial holding company Tjaldur, according to the announcement.

Minesto Tidal Power Plant Delivers First Electricity to Faroese Grid

First launch of tidal energy kite Dragon 12   Tidal energy kite Dragon 12 has delivered its first electricity to the national grid of the Faroes, ocean energy developer Minesto announced. “A key milestone has been reached,” the Swedish energy developer stated. “The utility-scale tidal power plant Dragon 12—rated at 1.2 megawatts—has been successfully commissioned and, in the early morning of February 9, delivered its first electricity to the national grid in the Faroe Islands.” The Dragon 12, Minesto’s first tidal energy kite in megawatt-scale, has thus been successfully commissioned and has generated electricity at satisfactory levels in its first phase of operation, the Swedish energy developer added.  The 12-meter wide and 28-ton heavy subsea kite, anchored with a tether to the seabed, is steered in an 8-shaped flight trajectory that is powered by the tidal flow. The Dragon 12 is a 10-times scale-up from the existing 100 kW Dragon 4, delivering competitive performance and cost levels for build-out of large-scale commercial subsea parks of tidal power plants, according to Minesto. “This is a big day for Minesto,” said CEO Dr. Martin Edlund. “We have reached the most significant milestone in the history of the company by producing electricity to the grid with our megawatt scale power plant. We are both proud and happy and more than ever look forward to the journey ahead.” “What the Minesto team has achieved today is extraordinary and sets a new agenda for renewable energy build-out in many areas of the world,”  the CEO was further quoted as saying. “The competitiveness of the Dragon 12 is straight to the point; it’s powerful, cost-effective and feeds predictable electricity to the grid.”

“Impressively Innovative” Fish Farming Vessel ‘Bakkafossur’ Named Best Large Wellboat of 2023

The global fish farming industry needs “larger, more efficient, and more seaworthy service vessels to facilitate its inevitable move further offshore,” wrote Baird Maritime as its publication Workboat World named ‘Bakkafossur’ the Best Large Wellboat of 2023. “This fine new vessel, from the renowned designers at Denmark’s Knud E.Hansen, illustrates that development perfectly,” the leading international maritime publisher added. Delivered in early January of 2023 as a newbuild to aquaculture major Bakkafrost, headquartered at Glyvrar, Faroe Islands, the 109-meter “Bakkafossur is impressively innovative in many respects from its hybrid propulsion system to its processing and delousing systems,” the publisher noted. “It epitomizes almost every aspect of what Baird Maritime believes make it best in its class.” Marni Olsen, Project Manager and Senior Naval Architect at Knud E. Hansen, was quoted as saying: “We spent years developing our live fish carrier concepts taking all aspects of the vessel design into consideration, and this also includes foreseeing the future availability of green fuels. I believe we succeeded in preparing the vessel for future conversion to accommodate green fuels by placing the [diesel-electric] generator set on the shelter-deck where the components can be easily removable. In combination with the large aft deck for additional installations in future, this will keep the complexity and costs of conversions to a minimum.”

Vónin Consolidates Presence in Scotland with Mørenot Scotland Takeover

Vónin, a premier developer and manufacturer of fishing gear and aquaculture equipment, has announced the takeover of Norway’s Mørenot Scotland, which now has been renamed Vónin UK Ltd and will trade as Vónin Scotland. “This strategic step is a significant boost to our strong presence in the Scottish aquaculture market and underscores our deep commitment to this vital industry,” Vónin CEO Hjalmar Petersen stated. “Mørenot Scotland, with its impressive operations in Scalloway in Shetland and Scalpay on the Hebrides, and a dedicated team of 28 employees, perfectly reflects Vónin’s ethos of delivering exceptional quality and service,” Mr. Petersen added. “As specialists in manufacturing and servicing nets and moorings for aquaculture, Mørenot Scotland has been a prominent name in the region, and now, as Vónin Scotland, it’s set to reach new heights.”
Image credits: Vónin.
“This takeover marks a landmark moment in our history,” the CEO went on to say. “We have steadily grown our presence in Scotland, emerging as a key supplier in the local aquaculture industry. With Vónin Scotland, we’re not just consolidating our position but also gearing up to bring even more innovation and excellence to the market.” David Goodlad, Managing Director at Vónin Scotland, had an equally enthusiastic remark on the milestone event. “Becoming part of Vónin opens fantastic new opportunities,” he said. “The combination of Vónin’s strong market reputation and our local know-how is a powerful one. We’re looking forward to an exciting future and achieving great things together.”
Image credits: Vónin.
Since its founding in 1969 in the Faroe Islands, Vónin has grown from local roots into a global force in aquaculture and fishing solutions, known for its high-quality products tailored for challenging conditions. The company further described the takeover of Mørenot Scotland as “yet another step in Vónin’s journey of expansion and commitment to the global aquaculture industry.”

Seeking New Clients for Bergfrost Cold Store

Fuglafjørður-based Bergfrost, the leading cold store in the Faroe Islands, has seen rapid development over recent years, with large investments in expansion and upgrades of its huge underground facility. A further round of planned investments, however, is likely being placed on hold over a serious downturn in market affairs—notably a port closure on Russian vessels in the Faroe Islands effective since July 2023 over the conflict in Ukraine. Providers of cold storage services like Bergfrost had access to huge volumes of new business with an annual 350,000 tonnes of frozen fish, most of which, however, was being transshipped between Russian vessels for lack of capacity at land-based facilities. Getting a more sizeable piece of this action would mean many more thousands of tonnes of onshore storage and handling on behalf of well-paying clients. Yet for now, that was not to be. “350,000 tonnes taken out of the equation is quite a dramatic change and is sure to have an impact on how you plan ahead,” said Bergfrost managing director Símin Pauli Sivertsen. “We were looking for ways to be able to more fully meet the demands of international vessels, in particular Russian ones, and were considering various options to extend our capacity.” Despite Bergfrost’s high cold storage capacity, currently at 25,000 tonnes, a dramatic upgrade would have been needed to meet the demand of those vessels. For certain periods throughout the year, namely, a substantial proportion of today’s capacity is occupied by land-based freezing plants, making it difficult to guarantee any amounts of storage space for additional clients.
Bergfrost managing director Símin Pauli Sivertsen. Image credits: Maria Olsen.
“In light of the recent changes, those investment plans have become less viable and at least for now they’ve been put on the back burner. So we’re looking at the situation as it is and working on that basis, taking into account these changes and recalibrating our plans as necessary.” Meanwhile Faroe retains a competitive position for regional transport and logistics, at least potentially. The tiny island nation has a strategic location along major sea lanes in the Northest Atlantic and an excellent infrastructure both internally and externally, with highly developed road networks, container services and bulk carriers calling on a regular basis, a very high level of internet connectivity, and a comprehensive array of supporting business services. Import and export shipping processes are relatively short and simple while, at the same time, the cost of doing business in general remains comparatively low. “This country has quite some advantages when it comes to transport and logistics, much of which has to do with rates and costs and service value,” Mr. Sivertsen noted. “These are important parameters for anyone involved in shipping goods through this area.” Fully traceable As for cold storage of frozen fish, Bergfrost is known as a major operator and a leader in its field not just in the Faroe Islands but even in neighboring Iceland and in fact the entire Nordic Seas region as well.
Partial view of the Bergfrost office building, which also includes a hall for repackaging and dry storage. Image credits: Maria Olsen.
Within the Faroe Islands the Port of Fuglafjørður is considered an optimal location for a service provider such as Bergfrost—with deepwater quaysides and several key industrial facilities in place. “We offer a full array of services ranging from unloading and loading of goods whether from break bulk or containers, from ships or trucks,” Mr. Sivertsen added. “As part of our cold storage offering and associated processes we also take care of related shipment and handling including customs paperwork and more on behalf of our clients.” Bergfrost’s cold storage facility is situated in a tunnel complex deep inside the mountain borgin with main entrance in the middle of Fuglafjørður’s busiest harbor area, next to the Cold Store Terminal right between the huge Havsbrún fishmeal, marine oil and feed factory and the Pelagos freezing plant. All goods stored with Bergfrost are made fully traceable through a system of labels and computer software that offers all clients access to their storage-related data via the internet, Mr. Sivertsen pointed out. 
Moving pallets inside the Bergfrost cold storage facility. Image credits: Maria Olsen.
“Through our Cold Store Manager, all relevant movements and changes are logged in real time and automatically updated online so that the data linked to the goods—total time in storage, volumes, date of shipment, item or batch identification numbers and so on—are made available online to secure easy access around the clock for the respective clients they belong to.” Print Edition…

Klaksvík’s Unrelenting Penchant for Business

The business community of Klaksvík, the second-largest town of the Faroe Islands, shows no signs of pulling the brakes on growth and optimism despite signs of some dark clouds gathering in the wider economic environment. Famous for its energetic culture of entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency, and known as the ‘Fishing Capital’ of Faroe, Klaksvík is per tradition home to a sizable portion of the commercial fishing fleets of the island nation. Notably, the brand new 81-meter freezer trawler Gadus has recently been delivered to Klaksvík-based owner JFK, one of the country’s leading fishing companies. No wonder that delivery was proudly celebrated as the vessel—one of the world’s most advanced of its kind—arrived in Klaksvík on October 15th, 2023.  Amidst the upbeat festivities, however, an aura of uncertainty over fishing rights in the Barents Sea was lurking. The Gadus is one of three new, state-of-the art freezer trawlers delivered to the Faroese fishing industry of late, at a total cost of around 1.2 billion dkk (160 million eur), all of them dependent on the availability of catch quotas in the Russian sector of the Barents Sea; yet these long-held fishing rights could be in jeopardy amid political disputes. 
Klaksvík-registered, state-of-the-art trawlers berthed at the Northern Harbour, October 30th, 2023. Image credits: Maria Olsen.
Despite such conditions in the larger environment, the spirit of Klaksvík is one of courage, optimism, and energetic entrepreneurship. Over the years the port town has seen a number of industrial firms and service providers evolve, primarily centered around wild fisheries and fish farming. Since the 2006 opening of the Northern Tunnel (Norðoyatunnilin)—the giant undersea road connection between Klaksvík and Leirvík across the bay on the island Eysturoy—the integration into the so-called Main Area has made the business scene more dynamic and diversified even as the sociocultural landscape may have been rejuvenated.  “One advantage for Klaksvík as a business location is the fact that people here in general are readily accessible for interaction despite the relatively large size of the town,” said Árni Skaale, founder and owner of LookNorth, a leading manufacturer of plastic products for the fishing and aquaculture industries.  “For matters of importance to any business in Klaksvík and its stakeholders—for example, decisions on some major investment—the municipal authorities tend to be open and interested in hearing your perspective. I think this culture helps facilitate natural adjustments to say, business development plans, which can be very important. This town is quite fast paced and large enough to offer at the local level much of what businesses and people need on a daily basis and it has a rather quick pulse, yet it retains much of the charm and easiness of a small village.” Breaking barriers The signs of busy small and microsized enterprises is an ever-present feature of life in Klaksvík and the Municipal Council has in recent years undertaken several large development projects to upgrade the downtown area, for instance. 
Aerial shot of Klaksvík (file photo). Image credits: Andrija Illic.
Here the Biskupstorg has transformed the central area of Klaksvík and added a metropolitan aura with modern architecture, walkways, cafes and boutiques. In the nearby vicinity, an impressive new arts and cultural venue, Varpið, was inaugurated in September 2023.  In the same area the ambitious new Hotel Bisk—a 150M dkk (20M eur) investment led by CIG, Klaksvík’s other major fishing business—is currently under construction, scheduled for completion in 2025.  To accommodate more business growth and expansion, the Council has developed a large area known as Undir Hamri, near the entrance of the Northern Tunnel, for industry, trade and commerce. According to Mayor Karl Johansen, seven companies have purchased pieces of ground in the area for development, with LookNorth taking 9,000 square meters.
Tending customers at the Fríða Kaffihús, Biskupstorg. Image credits: Maria Olsen.
“We’re squeezed for space and need to expand before long,” Mr. Skaale said. “We consider Undir Hamri a great location not least in light of logistics considerations.” “When we started this business two decades ago, our primary market was the local fishing and aquaculture industry,” he added. “Today our market is everywhere in the Faroes, and so Klaksvík is not any longer our largest market segment geographically speaking—the undersea tunnel has broken a lot of barriers, both physical and psychological.” Print Edition…

Faroese-Russian Fisheries Treaty Extended for 2024

The long-standing bilateral fisheries treaty between the Faroe Islands and the Russian Federation has been duly extended for another year, in line with tradition since almost half a century. The agreement was signed despite pressure from trans-atlanticist quarters to discontinue the collaboration with the Russians over perceived geopolitical differences. “The Faroe Islands and Russia have today entered agreement on mutual fishing rights for 2024,” the Ministry of Fisheries and Infrastructure stated on December 8th. “In result from the negotiations, the Faroese catch quota for cod and haddock in the Russian sector of the Barents Sea have been reduced in accordance with the Fisheries Management Plan for the stocks in question, meaning the catch quotas for cod and haddock are reduced by 20 percent and 18 percent, respectively. The Faroese catch quota for flatfish and northern shrimp remain unchanged.” As for Russian fishing rights in Faroese waters, the catch quota for Atlantic mackerel and Atlanto-Scandian herring are adjusted in accordance with reductions recommended for 2024 by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas, the statement added. “We are dealing with a reduction of 23.7 percent for Atlanto-Scandian herring and a 5.5-percent reduction for mackerel; the catch quota for blue whiting increases by 3,000 tonnes, a slightly lower increase compared to the recommendations of ICES on the blue whiting stock.”
The new Emerald, arriving at Tórshavn’s East Harbour on July 13th, 2023.
In tonnage, according to the Ministry of Fisheries and Infrastructure, the Faroese catch quota for 2024 in Russian waters have been fixed as follows: cod 9,766 tonnes, haddock 1,047 tonnes, flatfish 900 tonnes and shrimp 4,000 tonnes. Correspondingly, the Russian catch quota during that year in Faroese waters are the following: Blue whiting 75,000 tonnes, mackerel 12,291 tonnes, herring 6,485 tonnes, including possible bycatch. “Russian vessels have access, during 2024, to fish in Faroese waters up to a maximum 55,618 tonnes of the blue whiting catch quota allocated to Russian vessels in international waters,” the Ministry of Fisheries and Infrastructure noted. The partnership between the Faroes and Russia on mutual fishing rights in their respective exclusive economic zones originates from a bilateral fisheries treaty signed in 1977 between the island nation and the then Soviet Union. Doubts had been raised in Danish and Faroese media about the future of the fisheries agreement citing the Ukraine war and the overall security situation in the region. About a year ago, an overwhelming majority of the political parties represented in the Faroese parliament declared their support for the continuation of the fisheries collaboration with the Russians. Meanwhile a group of politicians and news media personalities with strong trans-atlanticist views has campaigned energetically to end all Faroese trade with Russia in protest over the invasion of Ukraine. After they succeeded earlier this year in lobbying the Faroese Government to implement a severe port closure—with likely huge economic consequences for Faroese ports and related businesses and local communities—fears were growing that the fisheries treaty with Russia would be lost as well, by initiative from either the Russian or the Faroese side. Unsurprisingly, news of the extended fisheries agreement were welcomed by many, as the cooperation with the Russians is deemed to be of significant socio-economic importance for the Faroes in general, and in particular the communities associated with the Barents Sea fishing business.
The new Akraberg fishing in the Barents Sea, late summer 2022. Image credits: Tórik Ábraham Rouah.
Notably, three highly sophisticated freezer trawlers at an estimate combined cost of about 1.2 billion dkk (161 million eur)—the Akraberg (owned and operated by Framherji, Fuglafjørður), the Emerald (owned and operated by Havborg, Tórshavn), and the Gadus (owned and operated by JFK, Klaksvík)—have been built in the last couple of years, largely dependent on access to the Russian sector of the Barents Sea. Along with a couple of older trawlers, the new vessels would likely lose their commercial basis should the Faroese loose access to those waters. That would put some 200 highly paid trawlermen out of work and cause a significant decline in revenue not merely for the fishing companies and their employees but plausibly also a range of their numerous subcontractors, with the national treasury as well as affected local treasuries likewise taking a hit.