International Fishing Agreements and Organizations

Greenland has fishing agreements with the Faroe Islands, Norway, Russia, Iceland, and the EU. The agreement with the EU is the only agreement in which the granting of fishing rights in Greenlandic waters is matched by an annual economic contribution. The other agreements ensure Greenland rights to fish in other the waters of other nations while other nations are granted the same rights for fishing in Greenlandic waters.


The Fishing Agreement with the EU

A fishing agreement with the EU has existed since 1985 when Greenland withdrew from what was then the EEC. In 2006, a new agreement, the Qajaq Agreement was signed. The new agreement is split into two agreements, a commercially-based fishing agreement and a partnership agreement. The purpose of the partnership is to ensure the future cooperation between Greenland and the EU independently of fishing, see the section on politics and administration. The aim of the fishing agreement is - as it has been until now - that Greenland makes a part of its fishing resources available to the EU and receives an annual compensation for this.


This compensation is DKK 320 million annually. Previously, DKK 240 million per year were given in return for fishing rights in Greenland, while the remaining 80 million were budgetary support. From 2007, the partnership ensures an annual subsidy of DKK 187 million without Greenlandic compensation in terms of fishing rights. The actual fishing agreement is expected to contribute DKK 133 million. Unlike previous agreements, the fishing agreement is subject to market conditions. A decline in world prices on fish of more than 5 per cent can lead to a decrease in payments from the EU. At the same time, EU fishing access to Greenlandic waters leads to free access for the fishing products of Greenland to the single European market.


The total EU quota in 2008 was 36.280 tonnes, see Table 3. The rights include quotas on halibut and redfish of 10.000 tonnes and 8.000 tonnes respectively.


The EU exchanges these quotas with other countries, mainly with Norway and the Faroe Islands.


Fishing Agreements with Norway and Russia

Since early 1990, Greenland has had fishing agreements with Russia and Norway. As stocks in the Barents Sea are scattered across the Norwegian and Russian fishing limits, there is a joint Norwegian-Russian fishing management.


The agreements mean that Greenlandic quotas on cod and haddock in the Barents Sea, which are achieved via negotiation with Russia, can also be applied to fishing in Norwegian waters. The same applies to the agreement with Norway. Furthermore, Greenlandic quotas on cod in the Norwegian economic zone can be fished in the fish protection zone at Svalbard.


These agreements allow Greenland to maintain competence and activity in fishing for cod.


Other Fishing Agreements

Since 1997, Greenland has had bilateral fishing rights with the Faroe Islands. The quantities are not large, see Table 3 and Table 4. Most of the Faroese fisheries off Greenland takes place in the context of agreements with the EU as described above. Until 2004, the Faroe Islands had a quota of 4.000 tonnes of redfish. This quota, however, does not appear in the tables as the agreement is now being negotiated between Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland.


In 1998, Greenland signed an agreement with Iceland on the shared solder population which previously was managed by Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland. Iceland also participates in tripartite negotiations with Greenland and the Faroe Islands on the allocation of redfish quotas in the North Atlantic.


A fishing agreement between Greenland and Canada has never been signed. It is due to a failure to reach agreement on allocation of quotas to shared populations.


From 1986, annual meetings between Greenland and Canada on common populations of shrimp and Greenland halibut in the Davis Strait and Baffin Bay have been held. Since 2003, Canada has, however, cancelled these meetings due to disagreement on the distribution of the shrimp quota in international waters.


International Organizations

Greenland also has fishing rights in international waters. Via the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, NAFO, Greenland has the right to fish for shrimp elsewhere, including Flemish Cap off Newfoundland.


The North-Eastern Atlantic Fisheries Commission, NEAFC, manages fishing in international waters in the Northeast Atlantic. Of particular importance is the management of redfish, herring, mackerel, and blue whiting.


The salmon population in the North Atlantic is managed by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization, NASCO. Greenland is not a member of NASCO. The condition of the population is considered poor; as a consequence, Greenland did not get a a salmon quota in 2008.


Via Denmark, Greenland is a member of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, ICES, which coordinates and promotes marine research in the North Atlantic.



Read more about NAFO at


Read more about NASCO at


Read more about NEAFC at


Read more about ICES at