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

Danielsen, Rannvá, Agnarsson, Sveinn
Environmental science & policy 2018 v.90 pp. 91-101
auctions, capital, environmental science, fisheries law, haddock, issues and policy, overfishing, ownership, politics, profitability, Faroe Islands
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.