A decrease in line fishing in the Faroe Islands in recent years has led to a market shift for innovation within the industry. Line fishing equipment is now primarily sold abroad.
Oilwind is a company from the Miðvágur village on the island of Vágar that produces environmentally friendly fishing equipment, primarily for line fishing. Their main product is a specially designed line system for small fishing vessels. Many line fishing boats use this system, but a decrease in line fishing in the Faroe Islands means Oilwind has started to sell their products abroad. This also means that much of their production takes place abroad.
“Because our main markets are now abroad, we are, unfortunately, forced to produce a large part of our equipment in other countries in order to remain competitive,” says Jeffri Johannesen, sales manager at Oilwind.
Oilwind’s line fishing system has attracted interest in Greenland, where it is particularly useful for small dinghies, and from Oman.
Although most of Oilwind’s production takes place abroad, all product development is done in the Faroe Islands.
In 2013, Oilwind received DKK300,000 in financial support from a fund that supports innovation in fisheries. This money was used to develop a type of line fishing equipment that is much used in Norway.
“The financial support we receive makes a big difference because it is very expensive to develop a product,” says Jeffri. “It’s difficult to start an innovative project if you need to finance it yourself each time.”
According to Jeffri, it’s important that product development takes place where the products are actually going to be used. The small size of the Faroe Islands make it a good place for technological development.
He says: “The fact that we live so closely to one another and word of mouth spreads quickly is an advantage when we try new products. You cannot develop anything in the fishing industry at sea unless you have the fisherman at hand. He is the one that can tell you if something works or does not work. We have these conditions in the Faroe Islands, which makes it easier to develop fishing products here compared to other larger countries.”