The Faroese economy is totally dependent on the fishing and fish farming industry as 97% of the export value derive from fish products.
The Faroese commercial fleet comprises long-liners, gill-netters, single and pair trawlers, purse seiners and a number of ocean-going factory vessels, as well as smaller coastal vessels. Together they exploit the diversity of marine species and stocks, both within the domestic 200 mile exclusive fisheries zone as well as in distant fishing grounds (fisheries treaties) and international waters.
A large variety of fish stocks is utilized. The most important fish for the Faroese fleet are: groundfish stocks of cod, haddock, saithe, redfish, Greenland halibut, deep water stocks like blue ling and the pelagic fisheries for herring, blue whiting and mackerel.
The farming of Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout is an important and growing part of the total Faroese fish production. The clean, temperate waters and strong currents around the Faroe Islands provide ideal conditions for fish farming.
Although it is not a big industry the tourism is the second largest industry in the Faroe Islands, followed by woolen garments, as several designers now have made Faroese wool and ancient knitting patterns their trademark.
These last few years wool really has been restored to favour. As the country’s own name indicates, sheep have been a decisive part of the basis of life in the islands and a couple of hundred years ago wool was of the same importance for the country’s export, percent wise, as fish is today. ‘Wool is Faroe gold’, people used to say in the old days. But then the world’s many new and cheaper textiles began streaming in, and for many years wool was considered more of a burden than a benefit.