Russia and the Faroe Islands signed their 41st fisheries agreement last week, continuing the 40 years of fisheries co-operation and reciprocal access, and this was followed by fisheries agreements with Norway.

The usual pattern has been for the Faroes to allow access for Russian pelagic fishing in return for groundfish quotas in Russian waters, and this agreement is no exception.

With diminishing demersal stocks in the Barents Sea, in 2018 the Faroese fleet will have access to 16,800 tonnes of cod and 1680 tonnes of haddock in Russian waters, representing a 12.50% reduction compared to last year, while the flatfish quota remains unchanged at 900 tonnes and the shrimp quota at 5000 tonnes.

Russia’s quota for blue whiting in Faroese water remains unchanged at 81,000 tonnes next year, while their mackerel quota is cut to 13,600 tonnes a and herring to 9100 tonnes. In addition, Russian vessels can catch part of their quota for blue whiting in international waters in the Faroese zone.

There has been discussion during 2017 at ministerial level on access for Faroese trawlers to fish shrimp in Russia’s northern waters, and now Russia has agreed to allow one vessel to fish there in 2018.

While the Faroese demersal quota in Russian waters has been reduced, there is a modest increase in quotas in the Norwegian zone.

The Faroese fleet has access to 4610 tonnes of cod and 1075 tonnes of haddock in Norwegian waters, a 250 tonne increase on 2017, while the 500 tonne saithe and 200 tonne other species quotas are unchanged. In addition, Faroese vessels can fish 3755 tonnes of cod and 325 tonnes of haddock of their Russian allocation in Norwegian waters.

The Norwegian demersal fleet can catch 2200 tonnes of ling and blue ling and 1801 tonnes of tusk in the Faroese EEZ, a modest increase on last year’s quotas, while the Norwegian fleet’s saithe quota is reduced by 150 tonnes and the 800 tonne other species by-catch quota is unchanged.

Norwegian pelagic vessels can fish 5979 tonnes of mackerel and 32,640 tonnes of blue whiting in Faroese waters next year.

The Faroese cod quota in the Svalbard zone, part of the TAC decided by Russia and Norway for the Barents Sea as a whole, is set at 1576 tonnes for 2018.

Source: Fiskamálaráðið