EXPORTS of farmed salmon from the Faroe Islands have shown a significant decline during the first eight months of this year.
Recent figures show that salmon sales – the islands’ most valuable seafood commodity – are down by 17 per cent or £51 million to a total of around £295 million over the period.
There is no official explanation for the development, but the figures show that the decline in salmon is far greater in value than in quantity, which indicates that fish farming companies have been affected by a drop in prices earlier in the year.
And harvested volume figures from Bakkafrost, the main salmon farming company on the islands, are also down this year.
But statistics relating to white fish, such as cod and haddock, for the longer, 10-month period between January and October have increased, netting the country’s fleet at least £120 million.
Statistics show they are one third higher over the same period in 2017. The cod catch is now 13,313 tonnes, almost 3,000 tonnes higher.
As for haddock, which has shot up in price this year, landings totalled more than 4,000 tonnes, which is 963 tonnes up on 2017.
The big disappointment has been with saithe, where catches have declined by 16 per cent to 19,400 tonnes.
The value has also dropped, offsetting much of the gain from higher cod and haddock prices.
Landings of flatfish such as plaice are also lower – down by 900 tonnes to 4,400 tonnes.
The figures now take on greater economic significance than in the past because since January the 50,000 inhabitants living on the islands have been handed greater control over the way the fishing industry is run.
The reforms virtually exclude foreign ownership of quotas and have put an end to the trading of fishing licences.
The Faroe Islands earn well over £800 million a year from the export of marine products of all types.