Due to the remote location of the Faroe Islands, for centuries the Faroese people have had to rely on the sea for their livelihoods. Even today, more than 96 % of the export of the Faroe Islands is fish. Living off the sea has taught the Faroese people to have the greatest respect for the sea and the environment.
The number and location of licenses for sea-based aquaculture in the Faroe Islands are strictly limited to ensure sustainability. Decades of experience in aquaculture have been used in determining in which areas fish farming is most sustainable and the number of fish that can be sustainably farmed in these areas. The Ministry of Trade has the responsibility of overseeing these licenses. Every fish farming company has to be approved by the Environment Agency before commencing activity in any of the licensed areas.
Before commencing activity, companies are obligated by law to conduct tests of the ocean floor, both under the immediate farming areas and the surrounding areas. Thereafter, tests have to be conducted at least once a year. These tests are designed to detect any negative impact on the environment. If the results of the tests are not satisfactory, the company is obligated to take corrective measures, in most cases by letting the area lie fallow for a period. If the company fails to take proper measures, then the Environment Agency has the authority to ban the company from using the area until tests have proved it is again fit for use.
State-of-the-art sensors and cameras have been installed in the pens in order to precisely monitor feed and thereby limit any waste that could pollute the environment. Because of innovative technology like this, salmon from the Faroe Islands have one of the absolute lowest feed factors of the whole industry, just 1.11 kg of feed to produce 1 kg of salmon (Generation 08).
The strong currents around the Faroe Islands also play their part in protecting the environment, as they effectively clean the fjords and sounds. The Faroese Veterinarian Act on Aquaculture also requires the aquaculture sites to lie fallow and rest for a minimum of two months between generations of salmon.