Greenlandic Minister: Mackerel Dispute with Iceland Settled Skip to content

Greenlandic Minister: Mackerel Dispute with Iceland Settled

Greenlandic Vice-Fisheries Minister Jens K. Lyberth said an acceptable solution has been found in discussions with Icelandic authorities following the dispute on the unloading of mackerel caught in Greenlandic waters in Iceland.


From Greenland. Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“After the dispute surfaced the ministers have talked and I allow myself to state that the conversations have all been on good terms,” Lyberth told Fréttablaðið.

He pointed out that the Greenlandic ship Erika has been given permission to land its catch in Iceland on past occasions and is certain that such authorization will be issued in the future as well.

“In addition, we can transport catch between ships at sea so we aren’t much dependent on unloading it in Iceland,” Lyberth added.

Jens Bigaard, fisheries director at Royal Greenland, is not as content. “Nothing has changed since the ban was issued. We had recruited Icelandic ships but that is over now.”

Icelandic fishing vessels Brimnes and Guðmundur í Nesi from Brim caught mackerel in Greenlandic waters before Icelandic Minister of Fisheries Steingrímur J. Sigfússon issued a landing ban of the catch in Icelandic harbors.

Other Icelandic ships were also headed for the fishing grounds but had to be called back. Fishing vessels from China and Chile will now catch mackerel on Greenland’s behalf.

Henrik Leth, chairman of the Greenlandic fisheries company Polar Seafood, told that he is not concerned about the European Union’s threats of sanctions due to mackerel fishing.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Greenland is entitled to a share of the fish stock as it has migrated to the country’s oceanic territories, Leth claimed.

However, it is the position of the authorities in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, who have refused to assist Greenland in mackerel fishing, that has caused problems for the local fishing industries, Leth said, declaring their position to be ridiculous.

In Iceland, more than 100,000 tons of the 145,000-ton quota issued for mackerel this season have been caught. Half of the catch has been landed in the Westman Islands, South Iceland, and Neskaupstaður in the east, Morgunblaðið reports.

Click here to read more about Greenland and the mackerel dispute.


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