About FISF

Faroe Islands Sustainable Fisheries (FISF) is a collaboration between the fishing industry and the research environment in the Faroe Islands with the purpose to foster sustainable fisheries in our oceans. We want to contribute to the availability of fish products from sustainable fisheries.

In the Faroe Islands the fishing industry has chosen to let the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) vouch for an international certification and regular audit of our fisheries. By choosing fish products with the MSC brand the consumer supports fisheries, that care for our ocean environment and urge others to do the same.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO):

  • One billion people, almost all of them in the developing countries, rely on fish as their main source of protein.
  • It is estimated that 200 million people are directly or indirectly involved in fishing or affiliated industries.
  • Over 50% of the seafood traded around the world comes from developing countries.

For many of these people, sustainable fishing is a necessity, not a luxury. The alternative is unemployment, malnutrition, poverty and hunger.

MSC works to promote responsible fisheries management and sustainable methods, to protect the fishing communities of the future.

By combating overfishing and illegal fishing, we can help to protect the basis for life and ensure vital food safety for many people around the world.

For further information about FISF please do not hesitate to contact Durita í Grótinum, Managing Director.

Board of Directors

Hanus Hansen, chairman
Anfinn Olsen
Alfred Petersen
Jan Højgaard

Management

Durita í Grótinum, CEO

Press Release Cod & Haddock

The Fisheries for Cod and Haddock have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council

Today, finalizing a thorough process of review of the Faroese fisheries for cod and haddock in Faroese waters by international experts, MSC has approved the fisheries as sustainable according to their standards. It has been vital for the approval that the Faroese Minister of Fisheries has implemented a management plan for setting the maximum number of fishing days.

The fact that the Faroese fisheries authorities in 2020 implemented a new system with a management plan for setting the number of fishing days based on scientific advice from the marine biologists has been decisive for the approval by the MSC of the fisheries as sustainable. This is revealed in an assessment report published by MSC today.

The new approval is an extension of the current MSC approval of the fisheries for ling and tusk in Faroese waters. Approvals can be conditional or unconditional. In this case, the approval by the MSC is conditional, where the most important condition is that the computer model and simulations for estimating precautionarity of the Management Plan are peer reviewed and if required work with the Faroese Authorities to modify the management plan so that the plan is consistent with MSC objectives.

For several years, the Faroese fishing industry has been limited in their access to international markets for fish products from cod and haddock caught in Faroese waters. Several retailers have required documentation for sustainability when selecting their suppliers. This has had fiscal consequences for the Faroese fish exports, since the fisheries have not had any international approval such as by the MSC.

Now that the Faroese fisheries for cod and haddock has been approved by the MSC as sustainable, Faroese suppliers of fish products have gained access to new markets and customer segments, who are potentially willing to pay a price premium relative to the current markets. This is obviously positive for the Faroese exports and the industry as a whole. According to the approval by the MSC all cod and haddock caught after June 9th 2021 is now internationally recognized as being sustainably caught.

The Faroese Fishing industry applauds the new opportunities

“In the industry we have been working systematically towards this situation, where the Faroese fishing authorities adjusted the fishery management system to be sustainable according to international principles” says Hanus Hansen, chairman of Faroe Islands Sustainable Fisheries (FISF), an organization established by the Faroese industry to administer the international certifications of Faroese fisheries. “We therefore applaud that the MSC now has certified the Faroese fisheries for cod and haddock as sustainable, which will benefit the industry and society as a whole.”

In July 2020, Jacob Vestergaard, Minister of Fisheries, publicly announced that the Faroese authorities now would follow a scientifically based management plan in setting the maximum number of fishing days for the demersal fisheries. This was implemented in a Executive Order in December 2020 setting the number of fishing days for 2021. Thus, the Minister of Fisheries implemented a recommendation by a working group with members from the industry and the research environment.

“Our objective is to manage the fishing stocks under Faroese sovereignty in such a manner, that the future generations can obtain the same benefits from our sea resources as the current generations” says Jacob Vestergaard, Minister of Fisheries. “I therefore chose to implement a system with a management plan based on scientific advice for each fish species, where we in a systematic manner follow the scientific advice to ensure sustainable fisheries. It is very satisfying to see that these efforts already pay off with this recognition by the MSC. This benefits all parties, since the world demands sustainably caught fish products, while we need the income from the fish exports.”

The MSC approval is based on clear principles

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organisation. We recognise and reward efforts to protect oceans and safeguard seafood supplies for the future. The MSC certification is based on three main principles: (1) Sustainable fish stocks. (2) Minimising environmental impact. (3) Effective fisheries management.

Gisli Gislason from the MSC explains the background and process for certifying the Faroese fisheries for cod and haddock:

“The Faroese fishing industry contacted us in 2019 initiating the process to certify the Faroese fisheries as sustainable according to international standards. The background was that the Faroese authorities had decided to implement a management plan for setting the maximum number of fishing days based on scientific advice. Hereby, the Faroese society has chosen to comply with scientific recommendations in managing their fish stocks. Our experts have reviewed the data, recommendations, and the fishery management systems with respect to our three main principles. The process has been thorough but now we have finalised the certification process and approved the fisheries as sustainable. I also applaud that the Faroese industry has organised themselves in an organisation FISF, which administers their international certifications. This will for sure speed up the development and knowledge sharing in the industry.”

FISF has represented the Faroese industry in the process of certifying the Faroese fisheries as sustainable. Durita í Grótinum is the chief executive officer of FISF.

“Our cooperation with MSC has been very satisfying” says Durita í Grótinum, CEO. “MSC has a lot of formal requirements to the fisheries and the fisheries management system to meet their principles. That we have been able to achieve this goal is because the Faroese authorities have listened to experts to implement a management plan. Going forward, it is vital that we follow through in accordance to the management plan for the different fish species to preserve the MSC certification. It has also been vital that the Faroese Marine Research Institute has internationally recognised scientists, who foster scientific confidence in the Faroese fisheries management system.”

More information can be gained from Durita í Grótinum, CEO at FISF, on mobile +298 55 54 53 or fisf@fisf.fo.

Press release

The Faroese fishing industry promotes sustainability

For a number of years the Faroese fishing industry has collaborated on achieving international certifications of the Faroese fisheries as sustainable. Today, the industry takes a new step towards sustainability by formally establishing a new company to promote sustainable fisheries and achieve ambitious goals in this regard.

FISF is a newly established company in the Faroese fishing industry, whose purpose is to improve the availability of fish products from sustainable fisheries to the global conscious consumers. More specifically, the company intends to increase the share of Faroese fisheries being certified by international organisations as sustainable, and to take initiatives in the industry in order to achieve this objective. One important condition for these activities is that the Faroese research environment, especially the Faroese Marine Research Institute, provides sufficient statistical analysis of the health of the fish spawning stocks.

In the Faroe Islands the fishing industry has chosen to let the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) vouch for an international certification and regular audit of our fisheries. By choosing fish products with the MSC brand the consumer supports fisheries, that care for our ocean environment and urge others to do the same. MSC certification is based on three main principles:

  1. Fishing activities must be at a level that is sustainable for the fish stocks.
  2. The ecosystem retains its structure, productivity, function and diversity.
  3. Fisheries must comply with relevant requirements.

Gisli Gislason from the MSC has been contact person for the Faroese industry for a number of years:

”In Greenland, Iceland, and Norway the fishing industry organized themselves in a common organization coordinating the cooperation with the MSC, while the industry in the Faroe Islands continued to work with MSC individually. At a conference in the Faroe Islands in 2013 I suggested in a presentation that the industry should organize these activities regarding sustainability in a common company for the whole industry. I am very happy to see, that the Faroese fishing industry now has taken the step to organize these activities in a company representing the industry. This will surely strengthen the development and knowledge-sharing in the Faroese industry.”

Currently, the MSC has certified several Faroese fisheries, among these are: The fisheries for cod, haddock, and saithe in the Barent’s Sea (from 2012), the saithe fishery in Faroese waters (from 2013), and the fishery for ling and tusk in Faroese waters (from 2018).

Going forward, FISF will initiate and coordinate more MSC certifications of Faroese fisheries as well as administrating the current certifications. Currently, FISF is in the process of achieving a MSC certification of the fisheries for cod and haddock in Faroese waters, and FISF expects to finalize this certification process later this year. Another work in process is a pre-certification of the fisheries for lemon sole and plaice in Faroese waters.

This week, the board of the company held the first ordinary meeting. The board members are Hanus Hansen, CEO of JFK Trol, Anfinn Olsen, CEO of Framherji, Alfred Petersen, lawyer, and Jan Højgaard, president of the Fisherman’s Association. Hanus Hansen is the chairman of the board. Durita í Grótinum has been appointed as CEO of the company. She holds a master’s degree in food science from DTU and has extensive work experience in the Faroese fishing industry. Founders of the company are Framherji and JFK Trol.

The company is active immediately, where the first steps include informing all parties in the fishing industry about the company’s activities and future plans. More information about the company is available on the website, www.fisf.fo. Further information can be obtained from Durita í Grótinum, CEO, by emailing fisf@fisf.fo.