New fisheries agreement between EU and Greenland | Polarjournal
Greenland maintains its own fishing fleet, but has agreements with various countries allowing them to set their nets in Greenlandic waters. (Photo: Royal Greenland)

On January 8, 2021, the EU and Greenland concluded negotiations on a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) and a new agreement that will strengthen their cooperation in the fisheries sector for the next four years, with the possibility of a two-year extension. This is according to an EU press release.

Fishing and the sale of licences is one of the most important sources of income for Greenland. Fisheries alone account for up to 90% of merchandise exports. (Photo: Royal Greenland)

The agreement is an important new milestone in the long-standing bilateral cooperation between the EU and Greenland on fisheries and renews their commitment to promoting sustainable exploitation of marine resources. This is the only mixed Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) in the North Atlantic and financially the third most important agreement for the EU. This will allow the EU fleet of 12 large trawlers to continue fishing in Greenland waters for 4 years. The Agreement may be renewed thereafter for a further period of 2 years.

In many cases, the fish caught is already processed, packaged and deep-frozen in the fishing vessels. (Photo: AFR)

Fishing opportunities have been negotiated for the same species as in the current Agreement. These are mainly cod, redfish, halibut, Greenland shrimp, capelin and grenadier. A possible catch for mackerel was also included in the agreement. Any mackerel quota transferred by Greenland in the future will be subject to Greenland signing the Coastal States Mackerel Sharing Agreement with the EU. The reference prices were also updated using a methodology agreed between both parties, taking into account current market prices.

On the basis of the fishing opportunities and the renegotiated reference prices, the EU will pay Greenland an annual financial contribution of EUR 16.5 million. Of this amount, EUR 2.9 million is set to support the development of the fisheries sector in Greenland.

Greenlandic fishery products are available for purchase on almost all continents. (Photo: Royal Greenland)

For the whole duration of the Agreement, the estimated value is EUR 99 million. In addition, EU shipowners pay licence fees for fishing in Greenlandic waters.

This new SFPA represents an important step forward in the partnership between the EU and Greenland, which dates back to 1985. The new Agreement confirms the principles of the common fisheries policy. It shall comply with Greenlandic legislation and management and scientific measures adopted in the framework of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO), the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The new SFPA will further strengthen cooperation in the control and monitoring of fishing activities.

GroßUK has its own agreement.

The common fisheries policy was also one of the driving forces behind the UK’s secession from the EU, which was completed on December 31, 2020. As a result, the UK and Greenland signed their own fisheries agreement in November 2020.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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