Faroes ecoregion – Aquaculture Overview
The Faroese legislative framework on aquaculture was adopted in 2003, with objective to promote profitability and competitiveness in aquaculture within a sustainable framework with regards to animal and environmental health. Any aquaculture production requires a licence and an environmental permit.
Marine aquaculture facilities in the ecoregion are located along the coast of the Faroe Islands. Conditions at aquaculture sites range from sheltered fjords to areas of higher wave and current exposure typical to more offshore conditions.
Marine aquaculture production within the ecoregion is strongly dominated by Atlantic salmon, with some minor production of seaweeds.
The aquaculture industry, together with various suppliers to the industry, has major social and economic effects on Faroese society. Employment in the aquaculture industry has gradually increased from 2005, concurrent with the increase in production. About 5% of the total active labour force in the Faroe Islands work in the aquaculture industry.
The aquaculture industry is an important contributor (8%) to gross domestic product. During the past decade, the export value from the industry has represented 40–45% of the total exports of goods of the Faroe Islands. Despite a general increase in production costs, profitability of Atlantic salmon farming has been generally high, due to the absence of major diseases and a growing international market demand.
The single largest concern for salmon production in the ecoregion is sea lice; mitigating its effect has been the main driver of investments, innovations in farming practices and production technologies, and aquaculture regulations.
Sustainable aquaculture growth requires innovative production technologies to reduce its environmental effects. These include the diversification of existing culture systems in response to changing environmental or biological drivers, through the consideration of shellfish aquaculture, the expansion of seaweed aquaculture, and the development of offshore aquaculture.
Future developments will need to consider and apply an integrated approach to assess synergies and trade-offs among sectors, including commercial fisheries, shipping, and tourism. Offshore renewable energy developments will potentially also need inclusion while investigating consequences across environmental, ecological, and socio-economic dimensions. Future aquaculture development should also consider the effects of climate change.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee