Faroes ecoregion – Fisheries overview
The majority of fishing in the Faroes ecoregion is performed by Faroese vessels. The vast majority of the vessels participate in a mixed fishery for demersal fish, such as cod, haddock, saithe, ling, greater silver smelt, and Greenland halibut. Two main fleet categories operate under an effort management system with separated allocated fishing days: one group consists of single and pair trawlers (> 1000 HP) targeting saithe while another group, mainly longliners of all sizes, targets cod and haddock. A small number of large vessels target widely distributed pelagic fish, i.e. herring, mackerel, and blue whiting using pelagic trawl.
Demersal fish constituted the majority of the landings until the 1990s when pelagic landings increased considerably. Total landings peaked after 2000, and a noticeable drop around 2010 was caused by a decrease in the landings of blue whiting. Landings of demersal fish, especially cod and haddock, have been low since 2005.
Discarding is prohibited in the pelagic fishery. Discarding in the demersal fisheries is considered negligible; however, there are no reliable estimates of potential discards.
Stocks within the ecoregion are assessed for stock status and fishing pressure. Half of the stocks have a wider spatial distribution outside the ecoregion. The fishing pressure (in relation to FMSY) of demersal stocks has decreased since 2000 but is currently above sustainable limits. The biomass (in relation to MSY Btrigger) has increased in recent years. For the pelagic fisheries the fishing pressure has been around FMSY since 2010, but the stock size has decreased since 2017.
Data on incidental bycatch of marine mammals and seabird species is scarce. Gillnets are banned in waters of less than 380 m depth around the Faroes, and this might reduce both seabird and marine mammal bycatch in the region.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee