Faroes Islands keep Days-at-Sea instead of Quotas

The Faroese Governments proposal to make relatively dramatic changes to the laws regulating fisheries in Faroe Islands will not go ahead.

A proposal from the Government to adopt Quotas for the largest vessels in the Faroese fleet has been discussed in parliament however as there was no agreement on any aspects of the proposal it was dismissed by parliament.

This is a particularly interesting development regards the United Kingdom as that country looks to future management options to replace the EU Common Fisheries Policy when Brexit happens.

The shelved Faroese government proposal was that larger vessels were to replace Days-at-Sea with Quotas. Larger vessels were to be Long-line vessels over 110 GT and 25 meters in length along with Trawlers with over 1000 HP and over 35 meters in length.

The plan always intended that smaller boats out-with the above sizes would still operate under the current Days-at-Sea system.

The government got 38 responses from the Fishing Industry and Unions representing workers at sea to their proposal. All were negative – Very negative.

Absolutely no one within the Faroese fishing industry wanted to change from Days-at-Sea to a Quota system. It was made very clear to the government that everybody in the fishing industry was angry at the proposal on quotas.

On the day the proposal was delivered to parliament the whole fleet stopped fishing and crews went to the capital Torshavn where a demonstration was staged outside of parliament during the discussion on the proposed change.

The demonstration took place 5-10 meters away from the building and a number of the demonstrators were up against the parliament building from where it was possible to see the politicians sitting 2-8 meters away.

The strength of feelings shown on the question of the proposed change showed that all Faroese fishermen want to keep Days-at-Sea and certainly do not want quotas.

Scientific & NGO Disconnect

Every year a committee consults fisherman about their thoughts on the situation regarding fish stocks levels in an extensive survey that consults most captains.  Every year the ICES science is found to be a poor reflection of what the industry encounters on the grounds.

In 2015 the Faroese Government started to work on its proposal to move the fleets larger vessels  onto quotas and this proposal was put to parliament in April. The final decision to dismiss the proposal was taken on July 7.

Most people agree that the proposal has been made exclusively by people with no connection or experience with the fishing industry such as NGOs. This being one of the main reason why, in the end, there were too many questions and too few answers due to the lack of practical experience to back up a theoretical proposal.

Due to this proposal the governments majority was threatened as it was indicated that several members of the majority would vote against the proposal.

The government has 17 of 33 members of Parliament and during discussion on TV on July 10  influential politicians said that the proposal was poorly prepared.

Faroese parliamentary rules are that all proposals that are not agreed before parliament goes into recess are dismissed and have one last opportunity to be put to parliament. This means that the government will have to start the process on these proposals all over again.

On radio the day the proposal was dismissed most politicians stated that they did not believe the changes will be made as from their experience it close to impossible to try to push forward defeated proposals a second time.

Most are now speculating on a change in government. The Independence Party, the party of the fishery minister is expected to be replaced by another party. The leader, who is now fisheries minister, has been in parliament since 1998 and has a history of not being able to make agreements.

This is a link to television news  https://kvf.fo/dv?sid=68638