You have an outdated browser

Please update your browser

Update browser
Read more about Sustainability

Sustainable fishing

Our goals and ambitions within sustainable fisheries are based on UN Sustainable Development Goal no. 14

Our fisheries must be managed in accordance with the scientific advice and certified by an independent third party. We procure fish and shellfish according to equivalent principles and contribute to building knowledge of sustainable fisheries, the marine environment and new species.

Within the priority Sustainable Fishing, we focus on 3 subareas:


1. Sustainable raw materials 

We can categorize our raw materials as originating from ocean-going fishing, coastal fishing and direct purchases from local fishermen, as well as farmed species. 98% of raw material volumes are sourced from ocean-going and coastal fishing, with an almost equal distribution between the two.   

Royal Greenland actively monitors fisheries requirements, reacts to scientifically proven changes in stocks and participates actively in the development of new technologies.   

Risks and opportunities  

The greatest volume of raw materials are caught in Greenland, where the following risks have been identified:  

  • For some species, a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) exceeding the scientific advice is determined 
  • Excess capacity, particularly in the coastal fleet, can exert more pressure on fish stocks 
  • Impact on habitats and vulnerable species from fishing using active tools in contact with the seabed 
  • Large by-catch volumes of sea birds, for example   

The best possible advice as the basis for optimal socioeconomic management is achieved through continuous focus on ensuring sustainable fisheries. A stable supply of resources will enable towns and settlements to continue their fishing and production activities, for the benefit of the industry and the local communities. In addition, sustainable fisheries will maintain and provide access to new sales markets.  

Actions and results 2022  

Based on Sustainable Fisheries Greenland’s (SFG) Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) concerning inshore Greenland halibut, this fishing is now subject to quotas, and three new management areas have been established.   

A working group has been established to define targets for Greenland halibut fishing, and since inshore Greenland halibut is considered to be a “blind end stock”, the task is primarily to define whether fishing in the fjords takes place at the optimal time in terms of the growth and value of the fish.    

Working groups have been established for management plans concerning offshore Greenland halibut in East Greenland, and marine ecosystems and habitats.   

2. Thrid-party certification 

We focus on production from sustainable fisheries resources and meet the increasing demand for MSC- and ASC-certified fish and shellfish. At Royal Greenland, we are therefore working to ensure that more fisheries are certified, both by participating in MSC certifications and by participating in the development of fisheries under Fishery Improvement Projects (FIP). 

Risks and opportunities  

In the course of the last decade, there has been a natural increase in expectations for third-party certification of fish and shellfish products sold on the retail market and, in recent years, also via other sales channels. In some markets, third-party audits and authorization are a condition for market access.     

MSC certification or implementation of FIP paves the way for new sales activities, and can serve to guarantee a stable supply of raw material, as certified fisheries' stocks are sustainable. External advice, as well as control of management and fisheries, secures an impartial external approach and ensures credibility.  

Actions and results 2022  

  • Royal Greenland’s capelin fishing has been MSC certified.  
  • Salmon purchased for Royal Greenland’s Norwegian processing plant is Global Gap (GG)-certified, and a small element is purchased as ASC-certified.
  • Offshore Greenland halibut fishing in West Greenland has been recertified. 

3. Commercialization of new species  

One opportunity is that more species are developed commercially and made available to consumers as food products. This will benefit both our business and communities since new products would also create more local employment. 

A small business development department in Greenland, staffed with marine biology and laboratory personnel, is focused on trial fisheries and the development of such species as whelk, sea urchin, sea cucumber and seaweed. Fishing, cultivation and sampling are lengthy processes that, from season to season, give us more knowledge and enable us to develop new marine resources for the market.          

Risks and opportunities  

Dependence on fishing for wild species considered to be a renewable, but limited resource may be subject to uncertainty. The sea and thereby stocks are vulnerable to environmental impacts and possible overfishing.   

At Royal Greenland we therefore work to promote sustainable fishing of existing species, and to commercialize new species and fisheries. In recent years we have worked with production trials and upscaling of seaweed cultivation, as a consumer product and for CO2 capture.   

Actions and results 2022  

Scaling-up of seaweed plant using an optimized production method outside Maniitsoq in Greenland during a year characterized by ice, algae deposits on ropes and unstable weather conditions for the setting out of seaweed plants. 

See also

Read more about Responsible footprint