Atlantic Salmon Federation St. Andrews 9 June 2011 …

Greenland Fishermen Protesting to Fish Salmon outside NASCO. Photo: Sue Scott/Atlantic Salmon Federation

Despite the protests of its Greenland fishermen, the Greenland Government agreed to maintain its commercial salmon fishery quota at zero for the final year of a three-year regulatory agreement that applied to 2009 to 2011. The Greenland fishermen made a plea for opening a commercial fishery in a special address to the opening session of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) meeting. They also staged a demonstration outside Hotel Arctic, Ilulissat, Greenland, where the NASCO meetings took place from June 3 to 6.

Greenland fishermen were adamant that they are seeing lots more salmon off Greenland. They indicated that other Parties that are signatories to NASCO are harvesting more salmon than they are and they want their fair share. Bill Taylor, President of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), said, “The Greenland Government made these points as well, so next year, it will be tough to re-negotiate a zero quota on the commercial salmon fishery. It will also be tough during the 2011 season to keep the rising internal use fishery that killed 10,000 North American salmon last year at a low level. Most of the salmon that are harvested at Greenland are from North America and some are from endangered and threatened populations.”

Mr. Taylor continued, "ASF and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund of Iceland recently renewed our conservation agreement with the Greenland fishermen to ensure that no commercial salmon fishery occurs and to keep the internal use fishery as low as possible in 2011. In their statement to NASCO, the Greenland fishermen acknowledged that our agreement has been an important incentive for not fishing since it began in 2002. The agreement provides funds to fishermen who move from fishing for salmon to alternative fisheries and employment.

The final report of NASCO’s review on how Parties are living up to their agreements to control the impacts of farmed salmon on wild salmon was also presented at the meeting in Greenland. "It is appalling," said Mr. Taylor, "that no country with salmon aquaculture is living up to the international goals for containment of farmed salmon and control of sea lice."

NASCO agreed to an external review by a panel of international experts to assess the organization’s progress since the treaty began in 1983 and to make recommendations to increase NASCO’s effectiveness. Non government organizations (NGOs) accredited to NASCO were successful in getting their recommendation that the NASCO Convention be revised to make agreements binding on Parties included as part of the considerations by the External Reviewers.

"The 34 NGOs accredited to NASCO,” said Sue Scott, ASF’s VP of Communications who attended the NASCO meeting, “welcome the increased transparency and inclusion of NGOs in the NASCO process that has occurred since 2005, the result of an internal review by NASCO. However, it is very apparent that countries are failing to implement their agreements at home, especially with regard to protecting wild salmon from farmed salmon and phasing out mixed-stock fisheries that indiscriminately harvest wild Atlantic salmon."

ASF is encouraged by Canada’s announcement that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) intends to add the Eagle River to the assessment of Labrador’ salmon populations, which will give more information on the health of stocks to guide management decisions. ASF is also encouraged by discussions with DFO on a cooperative program to carry out a genetics sampling program this year, which will provide valuable information on the river origin of wild salmon stocks being killed in the First Nations mixed-stock fisheries at Labrador.

Attachment: copy of the demands and address by the representative of Greenland fishermen to NASCO.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well being and survival depend.

ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and Western New England). The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.

Read the Greenland Fisherman's Demands