Countries agree to new measures for Greenland salmon fishery

Countries agree to new measures for Greenland salmon fishery

NASF, ASF conservation agreement leads to international cooperation

ST. ANDREWS, N.B. – Representatives of the Greenland government agreed to a zero commercial harvest for wild Atlantic salmon in 2018, 2019, and 2020 at last week’s annual assembly of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) in Portland, Maine.

Suspending the last commercial harvest for wild Atlantic salmon of North American origin is a major conservation gain and formalizes an important condition of the agreement reached in May between the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF), and KNAPK, the union representing Greenland hunters and fishermen.

However, at NASCO, the Greenland government insisted upon and received consent for a 30-tonne quota, higher than the 20-tonne subsistence quota established in the ASF-NASF-KNAPK agreement, yet less than the previous 45 tonne quota (2015-2017) which included commercial landings. The additional 10-tonnes was sought to ensure non-KNAPK members in Greenland have the opportunity for a limited, personal fishery.

“While we are disappointed at the magnitude of the NASCO quota, especially in light of the scientific advice that there be no fishery at Greenland, we are thankful that our Greenlandic partners have helped lead governments to a significantly reduced and more tightly regulated fishery,” said Bill Taylor, President of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

Despite Greenland’s 30-tonne quota, ASF believes there are mechanisms in the ASF-NASF-KNAPK agreement that may effectively limit the total harvest to 20-tonnes or less. For example, penalties and bonuses associated with the 20-tonne quota laid out in the agreement will be based on the total reported harvest to NASCO, including catch from KNAPK members and non-members. Also, any catch exceeding 20-tonnes will be subtracted from the allowable catch in the following year for the purposes of the agreement.

In addition, all fisheries management protocols stipulated in the ASF-NASF-KNAPK agreement were confirmed at NASCO. These include mandatory licensing of all Greenlandic salmon fishermen whether affiliated with KNAPK or not, investments in improved monitoring and reporting, and limiting sales of salmon to KNAPK members at municipally owned open-air markets not to exceed the agreed upon subsistence harvest of 20 tonnes.

KNAPK, ASF, and NASF will soon begin community consultations in Greenland on the terms of the new fishery measures to prepare citizens for the 2018 season which begins August 15th. Information will be presented regarding the ASF-NASF-KNAPK agreement, including how former and current commercial salmon fishermen can access grants for the development of alternative employment, including sustainable fisheries and ecotourism.

In the fall of 2018, ASF, with the assistance of KNAPK and the Greenland Nature Institute, will launch a major research program at Greenland to track adult salmon using advanced satellite technology.

“Regardless of what the NASCO quota is, ASF and NASF are committed to working with both KNAPK and the Greenland government to conserve salmon. We recognize that salmon are important culturally and for food in Greenland and we hope their leadership and sacrifice will serve as a model for other NASCO countries to aspire to,” said Taylor.

Link to ASF Press Release here