Faroe Islands and Russia sign a renewed fisheries agreement despite condemnation

The Faroe Islands and Russia sign a renewed fisheries agreement despite condemnation from the EU, the UK and the Kingdom of Denmark

In a controversial move, the Faroe Islands have extended its annual fisheries agreement with Russia despite heavy criticism from the EU, UK and the Kingdom of Denmark.

Speaking to Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, the Faroese Fisheries Minister, Árni Skaale, who represents the conservative party Fólkaflokkurin said:

“The Faroe Islands have every right to extend the current agreements with Russia. In the Faroe Islands, we distance ourselves completely from any kind of war – including from the war in Ukraine. But for us this agreement is about much more than fishing.”

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The fisheries agreement which has been in place since 1977, is renewed annually in November and stipulates that the two nations many fish in each other’s jurisdiction. The minister says the agreement covers about 5% of the gross domestic product and that it could affect the next generation if it is terminated.

Announcing the agreement, in a statement the Faroese government said:

“The Faroes and Russia have today signed a fishing agreement between them for 2023. It was a significant meeting. The calendar, which is now made, has proposals that take into account changes in the fish stocks. The cod quota in the Barents Sea will drop below 20% in 2023, and this means that the Faroese bottom fish quotas will be 20% lower than in 2022. The Faroese shrimp quota will increase to 1,500 tons. Also, the Russian quotas of blue whiting, mackerel and North Sea herring in Faroe waters are decreasing.

“The Faroese quotas in Russian waters in 2023 will be: cod 12,285 tons, haddock 1,276 tons, flatfish 900 tons and shrimp 4,000 tons.

“The Russian quotas in Faroese waters in 2023 will be: blue whiting 72,000 tons, mackerel 13,000 tons and herring 8,500, including bypass fishing.”

Renewing the agreement had met with condemnation within the opposition parties in the Faroese Parliament, but opposition to the agreement dried-up with the government claiming broad political support for the agreement.

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

“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.”

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Faroe Islands and Russia renew fisheries agreement despite condemnation

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