Greenland’s recent announcement that it will open a commercial fishery has triggered concerns in North American countries where salmon populations are declining.
Every winter, salmon in the north Atlantic migrate to the territory to feed in its waters. Over the past 10 years, Greenland has stuck to an agreement not to partake in commercial fishing of the salmon in order to conserve them.
The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) met in Ireland earlier in June, but no solution was reached. Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield said that Greenland’s decision disappointed him.
He explained that the purpose of organisations such as NASCO is to encourage countries to cooperate with each other, and ensure the sustainability of fisheries. He said that Greenland’s actions do not comply with these objectives and the Canadian government urges it to comply with internationally acceptable levels.
When contacted, a spokesperson at the Greenland Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture said that no-one was present who could give an interview in English. Furthermore, the ministry did not reply to the request for a written explanation.
Greenland, however, has previously stated that it harvests considerably less salmon than other countries in the Atlantic, but has been given a ‘disproportionate’ amount of responsibility for conserving the species.