The cold North Atlantic with its strong currents, cold temperatures and a benign maritime flora and fauna are providing excellent breeding grounds for the abundance of fish and shell fish prevailing in these waters, yielding a truly tasty and healthy gastronomical experiences for both the locals as well as the growing numbers of gastronomical travellers.
In Scandinavia the strong movement of returning to the original dishes and ingredients contained in the so called New Nordic Food Manifesto has also Faroe Islands amongst its signatories. The famous Danish restaurant NOMA, working according to the Manifesto, has been chosen as the best in the world. In Faroes the same movement of returning to the original faroese cuisine has become very popular and is led by the restaurant KOKS. Both NOMA and KOKS are co-operating and no doubt the first Faroese Michelin Star is imminent.
In Faroes, the Norwegian Lobster with its elegant and succulent meat is very much sought after by the restaurants, but also new comers like the Brown Crab and the Deep Sea Red Crab are gaining more and more popularity.
The faroese local stock of Shrimps are too small to be commercialised, but the considerable faroese involvement in the Greenland shrimp fishery has for many years provided a steady supply of Greenland shrimps to Faroes where these small, tasty crustaceans are very popular domestically as well as in the restaurants.
Brown Crab - Cancer pagurus
The shield on the Brown Crab also known as the Edible Crab is reddish brown. The claws have a purple tinge with black tips. You can tell the difference between male and female crabs by the tail below the belly side, which is wider on females. The meat in the claws is white and firm, while the flesh of the body is looser and has a light brownish color.
The shield can be 30 cm wide, rarely more than 20 cm, and the crab's total weight can reach up to 5 kg.
In summer, the Brown Crab lives on 1 to 30 m depth, and in winter between 30 to 50 meters depth. It is most often found on hard seabed, that is, rock. The crab's diet consists mostly of benthic invertebrates such as mussels and horse mussels.
When the Brown Crab is 5 - 6 years old, it becomes sexually mature. It changes shield in the summer, and when it has thrown the old shield and got a new one, it will mate.
The female can store the male's sperm for many years. After having mated once, she can spawn up to three times. The female spawns up to 3 million eggs in autumn and store them during the winter.
In the Faroe Islands there is no commercial fishery for Brown Crab - but in Iceland, Norway, Denmark and the UK, approx. 25,000 tonnes of Brown Crab are caught per year.
Deep sea red crab - Chaceon affinis
We know very little about this crab, since it does not appear close to shore - and because we have not fished for it before the turn of the century.
In English the crab is called "Deep sea red crab".
In a reciprocal fisheries agreement between the Faroese and the Greenlandic authorities, a Greenlandic trawler was allowed to conduct experimental fishing for crab in the outer Faroese sea territories. The first attempt took place in February 2000. The red crab - which was the subject of the experimental fishing - appeared frequently as bycatch in gillnet fishery for anglerfish. There had been sporadic attempts to fish crab with traps before year 2000 - and to sell it abroad, but not until the year 2006 crab fishing really took off with Faroese vessels.
Crab is caught with traps in areas southwest of the Faroe Islands and at 500 meters depth. The traps are fastened to a rope with approx. 50 meter distance in between, and set out in much the same way as when fishing with gillnets. The catch so far has been about 280 tons per year.
Crab legs are thin, so there's not much meat in them. But the claws are large and filled with tasty crab meat. There is also some meat on the body.
Shrimp - Pandalus borealis
Shrimp are red and have a long horn on their head, filled with sharp thorns. It can be up to 16 - 17 cm long.
Shrimps feed on worms, organic waste and various small animals - and even serves as food for larger fish such as cod, halibut and salmon.
The shrimp is a hermaphrodite. The first years it is male - in southern waters where the water is warm, it is male for the first two years of its life, while, in the colder northern waters, it is male for 4 - 7 years. Then the shrimp switches sex and spends the rest of its life as female.
The shrimps start their life as eggs under the mother's skull, which later are moved down between the front swim-legs on the underside. A shrimp usually carries between 100 - 1500 eggs.
The prevalence of Pandalus borealis shrimp goes from the southern regions of the North Sea continental shelf and Skagerrak over to the east side of America's so-called "Gulf of Maine".
In the northern areas the shrimp occurs in the Barents Sea in Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland - Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland and the Davis Strait between Greenland and Canada. The shrimp also occurs in the North Pacific around Alaska and the northern parts of Japan.
Shrimps live on soft seabed from 50 to 600 meters depth, where the temperature is between 0 to 8 degrees Celsius. They have, however, been caught below 1000 meters.
For the Faroe Islands, shrimping has had great economic importance since the late sixties. The largest catches occurred in the seventies and eighties.
Shrimp is in fact the most widely used marine delicacy in the world.
Lobster - Nephrops norvegicus
The Norway lobster is reddish. On the upper body and the head it carries a hard shell, which is attached to the back and hangs down along the sides. Its gills are located beneath the shell on both sides.
There are 7 joints on the rear end of the body and the last one is shaped like the tail fin of a fish. When the lobster need to move, it turns the tail fin up under itself and swims backwards.
The lobster reaches sexual maturity at 3 to 5 years of age. The female carries the approx. 4000 eggs between the hind legs for 8 - 9 months before they are hatched. Lobster spawn every two years, from March to September.
The young lobster casts of the slough several times a year, while as an adult only changes slough every two years. First the shell on the back cracks and the animal crawls out of the old shell. During the first time after the cast of the slough, the lobster is extremely vulnerable and can't even manage to stand on its own feet.
The female lobster can grow up to 20 cm, while males can grow up to 25 cm.
The lobster in Faroese waters is a special Faroese variant and is most often found in the fjords. It happens, however, that lobsters are found out in the Faroese sea shelf. It feeds on soft ground where it digs burrows with multiple entrances and exits. Lobsters live on 15 to 500 meters depth. It hunts at night and feeds mainly on small benthic animals like starfish, worms and crabs.
Lobster fishing is approx. 55 to 60 tons per year. The minimum length for lobster fishing is 13 cm - if the animal is below this limit, it must be put out again.
The lobster is considered a seafood delicacy - the meat is light and has a fine texture.
Mourits Mohr Joensen
Issue Date: 25.02.2013
Designer: Astrid Andreasen
Printer: LM Group, Canada
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 40 x 29 mm
Values: 7.00, 9.00, 23.00 and 34.00 krPostal use: small letters and medium letters inland 0-50 gr, large letters to other countries 0-50 gr and 51-100 gr