Faroe Islands renews fishing quota deal with Russia

The autonomous Faroe Islands territory is highly dependent on fishing for its income, and its fisheries ministry says its fishing quota deal with Russia covers 5% of its gross domestic product. – AFP pic, November 26, 2022.

DENMARK’s autonomous Faroe Islands have renewed a fishing quota deal with Russia for one year despite Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a local minister said today. 

“The Faroe Islands is totally right to extend its existing fishing agreement with Russia,” the North Atlantic archipelago’s minister of fisheries Arni Skaale told the Jyllands-Posten daily.

He added however that the islands, which are not part of the European Union, condemned “all forms of war – also the war in Ukraine” after Russian forces invaded in February. 

The agreement has been in place since 1977 and is renewable each year. 

It lays out catch quotas for cod, haddock, whiting and herring in the Barents Sea north of Russia for Faroese fishermen, and in waters off the coast of the Faroe Islands for Russian fishing boats. 

The autonomous territory is highly dependent on fishing for its income, and the fisheries ministry says the deal with Russia covers 5% of its gross domestic product. 

Russia has become a key commercial partner of the Faroe Islands since it and neighbouring Iceland fell out with the EU – including Denmark – between 2010 and 2014 over mackerel and herring quotas. 

An EU embargo on Faroese fish harmed the economy of the territory, which then turned to other markets. 

“Today we only have free trade agreements with six countries – and not with the European Union,” said Skaale. 

“If we cut ourselves off from one of these markets, it could be problematic for the whole of the next generation.” 

Authorities on the archipelago have however said they would think about alternatives to the deal with Russia after local parliamentary polls on December 8. 

Last month, neighbouring Norway – a Nato member – and Russia also agreed on catch quotas in the Barents Sea for next year. 

Home to some 54,000 inhabitants, the Faroe Islands have been largely autonomous from Denmark since 1948. – AFP, November 26, 2022.

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