The Faroe Islands are taking significant steps towards establishing a circular economy and increasing recycling rates. By promoting sustainable consumption and reducing waste at the source, as well as implementing effective recycling programs, the Faroe Islands are demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Water Recycling:

Water Recycling and reuse is a big topic in industries that need large quantities of fresh water, in the Faroe Islands this is e g the Aquaculture Industry.

The Fry and the smolt (baby and infant salmon) are raised in big freshwater hatcheries onshore, before they will be set into the ocean cages for maturing. Salmon smolt hatcheries typically use a significant amount of water in their operations, as water is essential for raising healthy fish. The specific amount of water used can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the hatchery, the number of fish being raised, and the types of systems and equipment used.

Bakkafrost was one of the first salmon farmers in the Faroe Islands to start recirculating water in hatcheries.  The company started attempts to reuse water already in 1996-1997 in Glyvradal – one of the old hatcheries.
 Currently in the Faroe Islands 98.7% of all water used by hatcheries is recycled.

The strategy to farm the salmon for a longer period on land, is directed to reach an average smolt size of 500 grams and to reduce the farming period at sea down to 12 months, which reduces salmon health risks and biological waste in the ocean.

In general, water is used in hatcheries for several purposes, including:

  1. Hatching eggs: Water is needed to keep salmon eggs moist and to maintain the proper temperature and oxygen levels for incubation.
  2. Raising fry: Once the eggs hatch and the fry emerge, they need clean, oxygenated water to grow and develop properly.
  3. Feeding fish: Fish require clean water to feed properly, and hatcheries often use automated feeders that dispense food pellets into the water.
  4. Cleaning tanks and equipment: Hatchery tanks and equipment must be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of waste and debris that can harm the fish.

To minimize water use and improve efficiency, many hatcheries use recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) that treat and reuse water. These systems can significantly reduce the amount of water needed to raise fish, as they recycle and purify water through a series of filters and treatment processes.

Additionally, hatcheries can implement other water-saving measures, such as capturing and reusing rainwater, using water-efficient equipment, and implementing best practices for water management and conservation.

Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) are closed-loop systems that allow for the reuse of water in fish farming operations. In RAS, water is continuously circulated through a series of filters and treatment processes, which remove waste and maintain water quality.

In a RAS, the water is typically recirculated through the system several times before it is discharged or treated for reuse. The amount of water used in a RAS is much lower than in traditional open-water fish farming, as the water is continuously filtered and treated for reuse. RAS can also reduce the risk of disease transmission and pollution to the surrounding environment.

Recirculating Aquaculture systems (RAS) can be applied with both freshwater and saltwater, depending on the type of fish being raised. Freshwater RAS are commonly used for species such as trout, salmon, tilapia, and catfish, while saltwater RAS are used for species such as shrimp, sea bass, and cod.

If the water cannot be fully recycled within the RAS or if it does not meet the required quality standards for reuse, it may be discharged into the environment. However, before discharging, it is important to ensure that the water quality meets the regulatory standards and does not pose any harm to the receiving water bodies or ecosystems. This may involve additional treatment or dilution to meet the necessary criteria for environmental protection. Local regulations and permits govern the proper discharge practices to safeguard water resources and ecological balance.


Come and visit the Faroe Islands with your sport, cultural or business event and make sure to contribute to environment or society through knowledge and purposeful events, using the SDGs as orientation. We are happy to help you design your conference legacy – e g by organising visits and meetings with innovators!

More stories and talks with influential and innovative people from the Faroe Islands, case studies and updates you find on the LinkedIn Showcase of Visit Faroe Islands Meetings:

More general information about the Faroe Islands can be found by visiting the Visit Faroe Islands Meetings website.


Johanna Fischer/FrauBlau for Visit Faroe Islands Meetings, 20.06.2023