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New agreement gives EU fishing rights in Greenland in 2013-15

(Xinhua)

09:07, February 08, 2012

COPENHAGEN, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- A new fisheries protocol was signed here Tuesday to allow the European Union (EU) fishing rights in Greenland's waters from 2013 to 2015, in return for financial compensation to Greenland.

The Fisheries Partnership Agreement between Greenland and the EU sets out the EU's "indicative fishing possibilities in Greenland waters" for 2013-2015, as well as associated conditions and financial contribution to Greenland, the EU said in an official statement.

In return, Greenland, which is an autonomously administered part of Denmark, will receive annual payment of 17.8 million euros (23.4 million U.S. dollars) from the EU, including support for a multi-annual sectoral program and reserve funds, it added.

The aim of the protocol is to enhance sustainable fishing and fisheries in the waters off Greenland, which lies in the Arctic Circle, and to strengthen scientific cooperation between the partners.

The protocol reduces overall EU fishing possibilities for certain species such as redfish, cod and prawn in West Greenland, while increasing EU quotas for capelin and prawns in East Greenland.

"The new protocol is based on scientific advice of the state of the stocks in Greenland waters and on mutual economic benefit," said Mette Gjerskov, Denmark's Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.

"Moreover, the agreement secures a beneficial framework to guide our joint further steps in promoting sustainable and responsible fishing," she added in the statement.

The Greenland government, the EU Council and the European Parliament must approve the protocol before it can come into force on Jan. 1, 2013.

Denmark is a full EU member and currently holds the six-month-long rotating presidency of the EU. Greenland is not part of the 27-member union, but ranks amongst its Overseas Countries and Territories, which gives it special relations with the EU, including on fisheries arrangements.

Greenland's economy is dependent on fisheries-related activities, but its unique maritime environment has prompted calls by environmentalists to impose stricter fishing quotas in its waters.

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