The wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) has important feeding grounds in the sea around the Faroe Islands. The area around the islands is the natural and best place for wild salmon. This gives ideal and natural conditions for farming salmon.
The other commercially farmed specie is the Rainbow trout, reared in the sea. The Rainbow trout was originally imported as eyed ova from Denmark in 1960.
Two farmers are producing cod. The juveniles are produced on the Faroes Aquaculture Station which is a research station on the Faroes.
The Fish farming industry takes advantage of the clean oceanic waters surrounding the Islands. The warm Golf Stream provides a stable sea temperature which possesses excellent conditions for breeding Atlantic salmon, large trout and other species as well. The country is rich of sheltered waters despite the small size of the country.
The production is in average around 50,000 tons of farmed fish in round weight. The evolution of Faroese salmon shows a stable growth of farmed fish production from the early eighties except during the recession in the Faroe Islands in the early nineties when production decreased. In the late eighties there were a large number of farmers in the Faroes. After the recession the fish farming industry was restructured and consolidated. Today the Faroese fish farming industry consists of a small number of farmers.
The evolution of the fish farming industry
After a couple of attempts in the early 1950s and late 1960s, fish farming as an industry took of in 1980, when six privately owned fish farms started operating in bays and fjords. In the same year, the Faroese Fish Farmers Association was established. The first farming of Atlantic salmon was based on eyed salmon ova from the Sunndalsøra strain, imported from Akvaforsk in Norway.
There are several freshwater sites in the Faroes that raise all smolt used in the fish farming industry. Most of the fish is reared in tanks in land-based farms using recycling systems, whilst a few sites operate freshwater cages on hydroelectric dams. The recycling systems have solved the problem of water scarcity because there is only surface water in the Faroes.
All fish for the marked are produced in seawater cages. There is a fish farm in almost every suitable bay and fjord in the Islands. Significant structural changes has taken place in the fish farming industry, with a clear trend towards fewer companies controlling an increasing share of the licenses for salmon and trout farming. Most of the farms are vertically integrated controlling the process from egg to customer.