Sisimiut - 21, 22 and 23 September 2018

About: The fishing fleet in Greenland

The fishing fleet in Greenland

The Greenlandic fleet of fishing vessels that has been built up since the 1960s, consists of approximately 570 vessels with inboard engines, as well as a large number of dinghies. It is estimated that there are between 3000 and 5000 dinghies in Greenland. Of these up to 2000 are used mainly for hunting and fishing, and a number of them are associated with boats that carry out pound net fishing, etc. The other dinghies are used mainly for leisure activities, including recreational hunting and fishing.

Among the larger boats that do the majority of the fishing, there are a greater number of inshore prawn boats. 9 boats are designed for catching crabs, 14 deep-sea prawn trawlers, 1 purse seiner, 1 boat for fishing for scallops, 4 boats for fresh fish and fillet production, as well as 2 processing ships.

The large vessels in the deep-sea fleet, which are all over 80 gross tonnes, fish mainly for prawns. 85% of the capacity is found in the towns on the West Coast - from Paamiut and northward to Nuuk, Maniitsoq and Sisimiut. In addition to this, there are a few boats that make up the remaining 15%. Qasigiannguit, Ilulissat, Upernavik and Tasiilaq on the east coast. In the deep-sea fleet, 75% of catches are processed on board, while there is a duty to land 25% for further processing on land.

Medium-sized vessels typically fish for prawns and crabs in the inshore areas, and it takes place in most municipalities, but the increase of fishing for halibut in the north has resulted in the number of vessels having increased and dinghies fish for very different species, depending on local fish resources. Besides this, dinghies are important tools for catching birds and marine mammals.

The Greenlandic fishing fleet is a mix of old and new vessels, but the significant structural rationalisation in the fleet in the last 10 years has resulted in a marked improvement of the fleet.

The fishing fleet is owned by private individuals. Trawlers owned by Royal Greenland A/S are indirectly publicly owned, in that Royal Greenland is owned by the Government of Greenland. Much of the cutter fleet is financed through industrial support loans, while the deep-sea fleet is financed through banks, foreign ship credit schemes, etc. Previously, the expansion of the offshore fleet was also funded by guarantees from the National Treasury, but this practice has ended.

Source: Department of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture.