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Show news archive News & Seafood Insight

Increased fishery and raw material supply from Greenland


With a total turnover of more than 160.000 metric tonnes of raw material, 2015/2016 was a busy year for Royal Greenland. As one of the largest operators in the North Atlantic, Royal Greenland conducts our own fishery and sources raw material from Canada in the West to Norway in the East, with Greenland at the core of our business.


During the financial year of 2015/16 the group's own fishing as well as purchase in Greenland increased significantly, which led to significant capacity expansion and conversion at the company's production facilities along the Greenlandic west coast. Royal Greenland has a massive presence in Greenland with 39 facilities of varying sizes, of which all but 2 were in operations last year.

Own fishery, Greenland
Royal Greenland's own fishery amounted to 55,000 tonnes in 2015/16*. Measured in 12-month terms, this was an increase of 9% compared to the previous year partly because of good fishing conditions for prawns.

The cold-water prawn quota was increased to 85,000 tonnes in 2016, in accordance with biologists' recommendations, and it will be further increased to 90,000 in 2017. The Greenlandic prawn stock is thus improving and in the coming years the TAC is expected to remain at 2017-level. In addition to the quota fisheries along the Westcoast, Royal Greenland has participated in trial fisheries for prawns in the northern part of West Greenland. The trial fisheries have been very satisfactory and it is hoped that this fishery can be repeated in 2017, as it represents a considerable value to both the participating shipping companies as well as local communities. The company is also investigating alternative fishing opportunities that Greenland either has or can achieve via bilateral agreements. As part of the efforts to increase access to these fishing opportunities, as in previous years, Royal Greenland fished for prawns off Svalbard – a fishery that recently achieved MSC certification.

For Greenland halibut, the fishery was stable inshore as well as offshore. The offshore fishery is expected to receive MSC certification during 2017. However, it is expected that there will be increased competition for access to raw material in the future as several processors are vying for the same natural resource.

Off-shore Royal Greenland's own fleet also catch cod, redfish and various pelagic species both on the West and East coast of Greenland.

Local purchase Greenland
Locally, upwards of 1.800 independent Greenlandic fishermen deliver their catches to Royal Greenland's production facilities in West Greenland. We are represented all over the vast coastline, stretching more than 2500 km from Qaanaaq in the North to Aappilattoq in the South, with 39 production units. See our production units here.


Local purchase in Greenland on key species

A total of 84,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish were purchased for Royal Greenland's factories in Greenland during the financial year* - which, comparing on a 12-month basis, represents an increase of 25%. The increase can be attributed to prawns, Greenland halibut and cod as a consequence of increased quotas. The landings of coastal cod have been especially great and trebled over the past three years. This has meant a substantial increase in activities in Royal Greenland's factories in West Greenland to accommodate to the increase in cod volume. The cod filleting capacity has been expanded continuously, so that cod is now being filleted at five different locations on the West coast. Investments were also made in further expansion of the capacity of the Nutaaq production to 75 tonnes per day. Read more about Nutaaq here. In addition, the increased cod volume has been utilized to produce lightly salted cod for southern Europe as well as a large volume of whole, deheaded fresh fish of high quality for Danish industrial customers.

Lumpfish roe and snowcrab constitutes a smaller part of the local Greenlandic purchase, but both species are important to the local community. Especially the lumpfish fishery that, in spite of the very short season in the spring, represents a source of income to the dinghy-based fishermen in the small settlements, where only a few species can be landed due to limited processing facilities.

Local purchase Canada
Two years ago, Royal Greenland strengthened its position as the North Atlantic Champion by investing in Quin-Sea fisheries in Newfoundland. The financial year 2015/2016 has been a year of integration of the two businesses, which has been a very smooth and satisfactory process. Quin-Sea Fisheries consists of five factories, which together with Royal Greenland's facility in Matane, Quebec, constitutes the Group's Canadian operations. The Canadian facilities purchase raw material from local independent fishermen and primarily process cold-water prawns, snow crab and fish.

In Canada, the prawn quota was reduced by app. 30% in 2016 and recently took another huge cut. This meant that landings to Royal Greenland's factories were reduced by 15%. However, through deliberate diversification of activities in several geographical quota areas, Royal Greenland's vulnerability to quota fluctuations has been reduced and the cuts in Canada were partly counter acted by the increased quotas in Greenland.

When it comes to snow crab, the 2015/16 season in Newfoundland was exceptionally good with landings of 5,900 tonnes, which somewhat compensated for the reduced prawn landings. The crab will largely be distributed to the American and Japanese markets.

External purchase
A little less than ¼ of Royal Greenland's raw material is purchased on the world market. The largest single item is salmon for Royal Greenland's smoke house in Denmark, as well as salmon portions. Other important species are flatfish, primarily plaice and flounder, for Royal Greenland's factory in Koszalin, Poland. The flat fish are used for breaded and filled products for the Scandinavian, UK and German markets. Plaice is purchased at auctions in Denmark and flounder comes from the Baltic Sea, including direct purchase from Danish trawlers.



*15 month period as financial year changed during the period

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