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Faroe, Russia extend bilateral fisheries treaty

The Faroe Islands and the Russian Federation have extended their long-standing bilateral fisheries treaty for next year, the Faroese Ministry of Fisheries announced on November 25th.

The partnership between the countries on mutual fishing rights in their respective exclusive economic zones has remained unbroken since first signed back in 1977 between the Faroes and the then Soviet Union.

After doubts had been raised in Danish and Faroese news media about the future of the fisheries partnership over the Ukraine war, an overwhelming majority of the political parties represented in the Faroese parliament recently declared that they support the continuation of the arrangement with the Russians, which according to estimates is of significant socio-economic importance for the tiny island nation.

In essence, the arrangement provides the Faroese with access to high-value whitefish in the Barents Sea and the Russians with access to cheaper pelagic species off the Faroes.

“The Faroes and Russia have today signed a mutual fisheries treaty for 2023,” the Ministry of Fisheries stated in an announcement released late Friday. 

“The agreement that has been reached now includes adjustments with regard to changes in the respective fish stocks,” the statement read. “The catch quotas for Barents Sea cod will be reduced by 20 percent in 2023, and this means that the Faroese catch quotas for whitefish will be 20 pc. lower compared to the 2022 quotas. The Faroese catch quotas for northern shrimp will increase by 1,500 tonnes. Also the Russian catch quotas for blue whiting, mackerel and Atlanto-Scandian herring in Faroese waters will be reduced.”

The announcement went on to detail the catch quotas. “The Faroese quotas in Russian waters for 2023 will be as follows: Cod 12,285 tonnes, haddock 1,276 tonnes, flatfish 900 tonnes, and shrimp 4,000 tonnes. The Russian quotas in Faroese waters for 2023 will be as follows: Blue whiting 72,000 tonnes, mackerel 13,000 tonnes, and herring 8,500, including bycatch.”

“It’s the right thing to do for the Faroe Islands to renew the existing agreement with Russia under which we exchange catch quotas with the Russians,” Fisheries Minister Skaale subsequently told Danish news daily Jyllands-Posten.

Comparing the potential annulment of the fisheries deal with the fictitious idea of Denmark all of a sudden closing down its ”entire agricultural sector plus its whole pharmaceutical industry,” Mr. Skaale noted: ”That’s how significant the treaty is for the Faroes.”


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