Atlantic salmon live here, part time, and it’s about to crowded (with more salmon). Photo Big River Camps.

Greenland to halt commercial Atlantic salmon fishing for 12 years

Kevin Bissett / The Canadian Press / May 28, 2018

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] deal has been reached that will halt commercial salmon fishing in Greenland and the Faroe Islands for the next 12 years to allow adult wild Atlantic salmon to return to rivers in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

The coastal waters of Greenland and the Faroe Islands are critical feeding grounds for the salmon, and many come from endangered populations in rivers like the Saint John in New Brunswick and the Penobscot in Maine.

“Significantly reducing the harvest of wild Atlantic salmon on their ocean feeding grounds is meaningful and decisive,” said Bill Taylor, president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

Adult Atlantic salmon returning to North America from Greenland. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries

In exchange for commercial fishermen not setting their nets, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund will financially support alternative economic development in Greenland, scientific research, and education projects focused on marine conservation.

The financial details are being kept confidential, but Atlantic Salmon Federation spokesman Neville Crabbe said no government money is involved.

He said all funding for the initiative will be raised through donors and fund raising by the two private groups.

Greenland fishermen will still be able to catch up to 20 metric tonnes (22 tons) each year for personal and family consumption.

Officials estimate the change will mean that more than 11,000 mature salmon that would otherwise be caught in commercial nets will begin returning to their home rivers in the spring of 2019.

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