Fisheries and Catch


Fishing is Greenland’s single most important trade. Fishing for prawns and Greenlandic halibut and some other species is regulated by quota and license regulations decided by the government. Fishing comes in two breeds, coastal - and offshore fishing. Coastal fishing supplies land-based seafood buyers, while the offshore fishing fleet primarily consists of factory vessels with on-board production. The land based fishing industry is dominated by two companies, the government-owned Royal Greenland, and the private owned Polar Seafood. Royal Greenland is Greenlands largest company. In the last couple of years, a number of private seafood enterprises have appeared on the scene.

Greenland has bilateral or trilateral fisheries agreements with the Faroe Islands, Norway, Russia and Iceland and has a general fisheries agreement with the EU. Greenland has the legal authority over the fisheries sector, and Greenlands Fishery Control authority (GFLK) deploys observers on Greenlandic and international vessels, primarily on shrimp trawlers.

Huntsmanship has been a way of life in Greenland for generations. Even today, hunting provides an important supplement to household economy. Hunting is regulated by means of seasons and permissions. A general hunting license is mandatory for anyone, who wants to hunt. The general license comes in two breeds, a professional and recreational. In addition, a specific license is needed when hunting quota – limited species. The quota system regulates the number of animals available for hunting. Professional hunting license holders usually don’t make a full living from hunting. In addition, they will often do dinghy fishing in summer and ice fishing in winter.

Seal still plays an important role. The seal skin is usually traded, while the meat is consumed or used for dog fodder in the northern districts. About 50 per cent of traded seal skin is tanned by Great Greenland, the countrys only tannery. A number of whale species have hunting quota. The meat is consumed in Greenland only, and whaling plays a minor economic role. Reindeer and musk ox are the most important land species. Meat from sea mammals, musk ox and reindeer is traded at Lilleholm and Royal Greenland, among others. Sheep and lamb are butchered at Neqi A/S. Skin from land mammals are traded as well. Bird hunting is regulated by means of day quota. A number of species are not quota-regulated. In general, the police enforce the hunting regulations.

Headlines Nyheder fra Grønlands Statistik

2010 Fisheries

30 June 2011
Fisheries 2010
In 2010 the total weight of fish and shellfish fell. The total value maintained approximately the previous level. Regarding shrims the weight fell with over 8,000 tons, and the total weight of halibut increased by 2,327 tons. For catches by sea-going fishing off Greenland and in waters the overall catch in 2010 rose.

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Tables in Statbank

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Fishing and hunting

Price index

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Fishing and hunting

Price index

First sale


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How many have the name ?




Greenlandic names by January 1.st 2017. You can read more on names here



Greenland in Figures

is a concise and clear introduction to Greenland. The leaflet is available in a handy pocket format and contains 40 pages of useful information on a wide range of areas such as population, foreign trade, tourism and social services.





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