Press Releases

From time to time FISF briefs on their activities.

This is the archive of the press releases.

The MSC certificate of the cod fishery in Faroese waters is being suspended

The spawning stock of the cod in Faroese waters is below the limit set by ICES. MSC has therefore announced that the MSC certificate of the fishery is being suspended. We are harmful about the situation, but the latest estimate of the cod stock requires this outcome. The temporary suspension is effective from September 14th, which implies that cod caught after this date can not be sold as MSC certified.

A large and growing part of the Faroese fisheries has been certified as sustainable fisheries by the MSC. This has been a very satisfactory development for the fishing industry. It is therefore very harmful that the MSC certificate of the cod fishery is being suspended only one year after achieving the certification.

The fishery for cod in Faroese waters has complied by all rules set in the management plan, where the Faroese authorities have taken the consequences of the recommendations from ICES and lowered the number of fishing days. But the lates estimate of the stock is however so low, that the fishery no longer complies with the requirements in the MSC standard, since the estimated stock is below the limit set by ICES.

Too small spawning stock is the reason for the suspension

The latest estimate from ICES of the spawning stock of cod in Faroese waters is very low. This is below the level that the biological advice of ICES deems to be sustainable.

Estimates of the stock are done on an annual basis, wherefore the fishing industry has to be patient with regards to regaining the MSC certificate for the cod fishery. The Faroe Marine Research Institute is currently performing the regular surveillance fishing operations in Faroese waters. The data from these test fishing activities will then be processed, whereafter the new estimates of the stocks based on these catch data will be published later this year. It is possible to regain the certificate, when these stock estimates show that the spawning stock is at a reasonable level.

The Faroese research community and fishing industry at joint conference

With more than 100 participants the research conference on 31 January 2022 jointly organized by FISF and Faroese Marine Research Institute was a success.

“This event will most likely be a recurring initiative for us and the Faroese Marine Research Institute” comments Hanus Hansen, CEO of JFK and chairman of FISF’s board of directors, now the Fisheries Conference 2022 in Tórshavn was a success. “We have a common interest in sharing our knowledge and experience regarding the state of the fishing stocks and outlook for the fisheries. Therefore, it is very beneficial for the fishing industry to gain an insight to the current research of the Faroese research community in this manner.”

At the conference last week researchers at the Faroese Marine Research Institute presented their most recent research on the state and outlook of the pelagic and demersal fishing stocks in Faroese waters. Representatives for the fishing industry also presented their view of the market situation and an update on the growing demands from the customers regarding sustainable fishing. Also, representatives for DNV and the Faroese organization Sustainable Industry presented the current international requirements to sustainable fisheries.

The conference thus focused on how the conditions for the Faroese fishing industry have changed in recent years, and how the Faroese fishing industry and administration adjust to changing environment. The conference assembled a broad representation of the industry, the research community, and the political system for a dialogue on the future of the Faroese fisheries.

At the Fisheries Conference there were a large number of presentations, whose material is available in Faroese on the website of the Faroese Marine Research Institute.

The conference ended with a panel discussion with the following participants: Durita í Grótinum, CEO of FISF, Eilif Gaard, managing director of FAMRI, and Gisli Gislason, MSC.

Recommendation in line with management plan

On the basis of recommendations from ICES the Faroe Marine Research Institute (FAMRI) has provided their recommendations to the Minister of Fisheries regarding the fisheries for cod, haddock, and saithe in 2022.

The recommendation is in accordance with the management plan from 6 May 2019. The report recommends that the number of allocated fishing days for Group 2 of gear types (single and pair trawlers) is increased by 5 per cent in 2022 relative to 2021, while the number of allocated fishing days for Group 3-5 of gear types (long line, jigging reel, trawling close to the shore) is decreased by 5 per cent.

The report from the Faroe Marine Research Institute is available in Faroese on their website.

Fisheries for Cod & Haddock certified

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

The 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, Further information can be obtained from Durita í Grótinum, CEO, by emailing