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Country Highlights

Greenland & its Fisheries: Sustainability Efforts

Fishing is one of the main economic activities in Greenland, as fish is a vital source of food, income, and employment for the people. However, the fishing industry in Greenland faces various challenges, such as overfishing, climate change, and competition from other countries. These challenges could jeopardize the sustainability and profitability of the industry in the long run.

To overcome these challenges and to seize the opportunities that arise from them, Greenland needs to adopt a sustainable approach to its fisheries. This article will explore some of the key challenges and opportunities for sustainable fisheries in Greenland, and how the country is working to address them.

Overfishing

One of the main challenges for sustainable fisheries in Greenland is overfishing, which occurs when the fishing pressure exceeds the natural capacity of the fish stocks to replenish themselves.

To prevent and reduce overfishing, Greenland needs to implement effective fisheries management measures, such as setting and enforcing catch limits, quotas, and seasons, monitoring and controlling fishing activities, and protecting and restoring fish habitats.

In 2021, the EU and Greenland signed a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement (SFPA) and protocol, which aims to strengthen their cooperation in the fisheries field for the next four years, with the possibility of a two-year extension. The agreement reiterates and emphasizes the joint commitment to sustainable use of marine resources, and provides fishing opportunities for the same species as in the current protocol (cod, redfish, Greenland halibut, northern prawn, capelin, and grenadier).

Climate Change

Another challenge for sustainable fisheries in Greenland is climate change, which is affecting the fish stocks in various ways, such as changing their distribution, abundance, and behavior. Climate change is causing the ice sheet in Greenland to melt at the fastest rate of the last 120 centuries, which affects the water temperature, salinity, and currents in the surrounding seas.

Competition from Other Countries

A third challenge for sustainable fisheries in Greenland is competition from other countries, which are also interested in exploiting the fish stocks in the country’s waters. Greenland’s fishing grounds are rich and diverse and offer a variety of species and products for the global market. However, Greenland’s fishing industry is relatively small and isolated, and faces difficulties in competing with larger and more developed fishing industries from other countries.

To cope with and overcome the competition from other countries, Greenland needs to promote its seafood products as a sustainable and healthy choice, to attract consumers who are willing to pay a premium for quality.

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