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Innovation in the Regulation of the West Greenland Salmon Fishery

Following protracted negotiations in the West Greenland Commission in 2021 which led to the agreement of the ‘Interim Regulatory Measure for Fishing for Atlantic Salmon at West Greenland in 2021’, WGC(21)18, focus in the Commission once again turned towards agreeing a multi-year measure to apply to the fishery from 2022.

The main sticking points for the homewater members of the Commission remained the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) to be included in the measure and the inclusion of provision to reduce the TAC in one year if the previous year’s quota had been overfished.

Three inter-sessional meetings of the Commission were held in advance of the 2022 Annual Meeting and the reports of these meetings, WGC(21)22, WGC(22)04 and WGC(22)06, are available.

To make progress, two Working Groups were established during the June Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Commission; one to consider the data and percentages related to the closure of the fishery in the past and the other to work on the text of a draft regulatory measure. The outputs from these Working Groups were considered at the Commission’s 2022 Annual Meeting.

Following the Commission’s consideration of the Working Groups’ deliverables, a new and innovative approach to the regulation of the salmon fishery was agreed. The new measure would be multi-annual, include a TAC of 27 tonnes and, for the first year of its implementation, the West Greenland salmon fishery would be closed when the registered catch reached no more than 49 % of the overall TAC. This is a dynamic process that will incorporate future fishery data and information to allow the closure limit to be refined for each year of the measure.

The ‘Multi-Annual Regulatory Measure for Fishing for Atlantic Salmon at West Greenland’, WGC(22)10, was implemented in 2022 and a report on the fishery, WGC(23)03rev, will be considered at the Commission’s 2023 Annual Meeting.

Mark Ives (Cefas Lowestoft Laboratory, UK(E&W)) – Maniitsoq fishing boat (2003)