Live off and for fish

Facts & figures

300 fishermen
Klaksvík, Faroe Islands


Around the Danish Faroe Islands, an archipelago between Scotland, Norway and Iceland, there’s loads of mackerels. The local community makes convenient use of this: in season about eleven boats ship out, on board about 300 hardworking fishermen.

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Fishing for mackerel hasn’t come naturally. In 2010, Scotland, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe island had an argument over the fish quota, endangering the fish data. The countries made new arrangements which led to a MSC-certification in 2016. Unfortunately the certificate was retracted in 2019: the fishing data was not healthy anymore. Because we at Fish Tales only work with MSC- and ASC-certified fisheries, we paused working with the fishermen from Klaksvík till they get re-certified. The products we do sell from this fishery were produced in the period when they were still certified.

Fishing method

The mackerel fishermen work with cone-shaped nets which they tie to the back of their boats and pull through the water. Because mackerels swim in compact schools, this method is very selective.

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The fishermen don’t fish all year round; only between January and August they go out to sea. Not only that, the nets have been designed in such a way that the small, young mackerels can swim right through. Keeping the fish population stable all year long.

Sheep and fish

The Faroe Island are situated in the northern Atlantic Ocean, in the triangle between Scotland, Norway and Iceland. The name means something like ‘sheep islands’, but we are here for the fish, of course! About 50,000 people live on this island group, and the small harbour of Klaksvík, on the island of Borðoy, is home port to our fishermen.

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Mackerels eat a lot. They can eat so much, sometimes they don’t even close their mouth to eat: young mackerels swim with their mouth open through clouds of plankton and filter little animals out the water with their gills. The upside of all the eating that they do, is that their meat is tender, fatty and is filled with omega 3 fatty acids. Healthy and tasty.

‘My coworkers and I live to fish.’

Fisherman Birgir has been working in the mackerel fishery for 21 years and counting, he not only lives from his work but also for it. ‘That’s why we only fish in a fair way. Because if we didn’t, we could reach a point that we can’t fish at all anymore.’

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