Icelandic Capelin May Have Migrated to the Faroes Skip to content

Icelandic Capelin May Have Migrated to the Faroes

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: Arne List, CC 3.0.

A large stock of capelins have been found in Faroese fjords of late and scientists believe that the fish probably swam there from Icelandic waters, RÚV reports.

Iceland’s capelin stock has been in decline over the last two years, likely due to rising ocean temperatures. Declining stocks mean no fishing quotas as the capelin population is allowed to rebound and this has been particularly hard on the economy of East Iceland; where the municipality of Fjarðarbyggð, for example, received and processed 47% of Iceland’s capelin catch in 2018.

Faroese scientists discovered the visiting capelin while conducting a survey of the local sprat population. A species of herring, sprat were first seen in Icelandic waters three years ago. Now it seems capelins have made their way from Iceland to the Faroes. This is rare, if not completely unprecedented, according to ichthyologist Jan Arge Jacobsen. And what’s more, capelins are actually spawning there.

Faroese scientists will send a sample of the capelins to Iceland’s Marine and Freshwater Research Institute. Further research will be conducted to determine if the capelins now off Faroese coasts did, in fact, originate in Iceland.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!