Analysing the fisheries policy reform in the Faroe Islands: On the path to sustainability?

Rannvá Danielsen*, Sveinn Agnarsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The home fishery in the Faroe Islands has since 1996 been managed predominantly with fishing days. The system has proven ineffective and has led to overfishing, fleet overcapacity, and low profitability in the home fishery. A process of reform began in 2007 when fishing licenses were terminated, effective from January 1, 2018. A fisheries policy reform was adopted by the Faroese Parliament in December 2017, just weeks before licenses expired. This paper describes the substantial fisheries policy reform and analyses its likely effectiveness and impact on the Faroese fishing industry. New measures include total allowable catch and individual transferable quotas for parts of the home fleet; allocation of fishing rights through auctions and development quotas; harvest fees; and the complete elimination of foreign ownership and capital. The fishing days system will remain in place for the coastal fleet. We identify a number of barriers for success, most notably that measures to ensure sustainability in the home fishery only apply to parts of the fleet, which may render them ineffective and hinder the much needed recovery of the important cod and haddock stocks in Faroese waters. Full implementation of the fisheries reform may be hindered by a lack of political consensus on a number of matters, and ultimately, full implementation depends on the outcome of the next general election in the Faroe Islands (2019), as the current opposition has made it clear it prefers the fishing days system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by SAF21, a project financed under the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skodowska-Curie MSCA-ETN programme (project 642080). The authors would also like to thank Unn Laksá for valuable comments on a previous version of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Other keywords

  • Auctions
  • Effort quotas
  • Fisheries reform
  • TAC


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