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'The Right Thing to Do': Faroe Islands Set to Continue Key Fishing Agreement With Russia

© Flickr / Bo NielsenKvivik, Faroe Islands
Kvivik, Faroe Islands - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.11.2022
The Faroese-Russian fishing agreement that dates back to the Soviet era and was concluded in 1977 has proved itself mutually advantageous and accounts for around five percent of the island nation’s GDP.
The Faroe Islands, a self-governing part of the Danish Realm, is set to continue a decades-old fishing agreement with Russia, despite the internal opposition previously voicing skepticism and criticism from Denmark proper.
As of now, there is broad support to renew the agreement for a year, as has been the case for decades. The liberal Home Rule Party has been the only one in the Faroese Parliament to voice disagreement.

“It is without a doubt the only right thing to do in this situation for the Faroe Islands, and I am happy that all parties in the Parliament, except one, are on board and see the sense and the rationale in doing so”, Fisheries Minister Arni Skaale told Danish media.
According to Skaale, the Faroese government will start negotiations with Russia on a new fisheries agreement as early on Thursday, November 24, and he expects the two countries to present a new agreement as early as this Friday.
While food supplies are exempt from the EU’s ever-growing list of sanctions against Russia over its special operation in Ukraine, several parties, including those in the government, previously advocated the abandonment of the fishing agreement, arguing that the archipelago should join Denmark and the rest of Western Europe in severing economic ties with Moscow, even to their own detriment. Remarkably, most of the parties that were against prolonging the deal, citing the conflict in Ukraine as the “moral” argument that ostensibly precludes business deals with Moscow, are now in favor of the fishing agreement, citing its importance for the Faroese economy and employment.
Guls surround a fishing trawler as it works in the North Sea, off the coast of North Shields, in northeast England on January 21, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.11.2022
Cod of Discord: Push to Sever Key Fishing Deal With Russia Intensifies on Faroe Islands
Arni Skaale praised the agreement, saying it is one of the most important for the Faroe Islands, and stressing that it alone accounts for around 5 percent of the island nation’s GDP. He also brushed off the “moral” argument by stressing that since 1977, when the agreement was concluded, all parties have made agreements with Russia, be it peacetime or wartime, and suggested that the current situation is “no different from what it has always been.”
The fishing agreement between the Faroe Islands and Russia is based on barter. Russia gives the island nation a quota to fish cod in the Barents Sea, while Russian ships in return are allowed to catch blue whiting in Faroese waters and transship the catch via Faroese ports. It runs for one year at a time, yet is traditionally renegotiated at the end of each year.
The end of a 45-year-long agreement that survived even the collapse of the Soviet Union would send the Faroese fisheries and shipping business into financial limbo. The Faroese catch in the Russian part of the Barents Sea is estimated at DKK 341 million annually (over $45 million), which is an important figure for the 55,000-strong island nation located in the North Atlantic about halfway between Norway, Iceland and Scotland.
Europe’s economy as such is now in a disheveled state as the result of Brussels’s sanctions against Russia, which were meant to “punish” Moscow for its special operation in Ukraine, yet aggravated both the continent’s cost-of-living and energy crises that have encumbered the member states with record inflation.
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