Faroe Islands. In January it was reported that killer whales and dolphins in European waters carry surprisingly high levels of the PCB environmental toxin, although this has been banned for several decades. About half of the orcas in Europe are found around the Faroe Islands and Iceland. Researchers believe that high levels threaten animal health.
In May, it became clear that the Faroe Islands’ mackerel fishing was eco-labeled again. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) had withdrawn the eco-label since the Faroe Islands in conflict with the EU in 2010 raised their quota on their own initiative. The “mackerel war” with the EU ended in 2014, and now at least 70% of the mackerel fishery in the North East Atlantic is ecolabelled.
According to countryaah, the current population of Faeroe Islands is 48,874. An expert report on the Faroe Islands’ future fisheries policy was submitted during the year to the Government of the Kingdom, the Government. It contained proposals for increasing the sustainability of the fishery and ending speculative trade in fishing licenses. Fisheries Minister Høgni Hoydal said that the Faroe Islands are probably the world’s richest nation in terms of living natural resources, but that large profits have been lost to private and foreign interests through the way licenses have been sold and bought. The investigation proposed a stop to allocate a number of days for fishing per year with political decisions, which can lead to overfishing. Instead, the government wanted to allocate all fishing quotas through open auction.
This year’s hunt for gate elections took place without the usual conflicts with environmental activists since stricter laws gave the authorities greater opportunities to keep protesters away. Over 160 whales were slaughtered.
The government plans a referendum in 2017 on a constitution that is being written for the Faroe Islands’ self-government. Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said in April that the Faroe Islands have the freedom to work on their own constitution, but the kingdom cannot have a constitution on the same level as an independent state and at the same time remain in the national community with Denmark.
Danmarks Nationalbank warned against overheating the Faroe Islands economy after several years of increased export income with high prices of farmed salmon, good catches of herring and large public investment. Wages in the construction sector rose by over 10% in 2015 and just over 12% in the first half of 2016. Unemployment fell to a record low of 2% during the year, and the economy was expected to grow by 8.5%.
The Faroe Islands appeared to be well on their way to financial independence from Denmark, as Denmark’s contributions were down to 3.4% of GDP, compared with 12.4% in 1998.
In April, the Lagting said yes to civil marriage for same-sex couples. The bill was adopted by 19 votes to 14. It only comes into force when the law is changed so that the church is not obliged to bless gay couples. The issue of same-sex marriage has divided the Faroese for many years and the resistance has been strong, especially from ecclesiastical circles.