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Statement by the Head of the U.S. Delegation regarding the new regulatory measure for the West Greenland salmon fishery:

June 15, 2018

The United States worked cooperatively with the Parties of the West Greenland Commission (WGC) of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) over the past week. I believe that significant progress has been made towards the management of the mixed stock West Greenland Atlantic salmon fishery. The adopted regulatory measure includes a number of elements that, if well implemented, will significantly improve the management and control of the fishery. All fishers for Atlantic salmon, including both private and commercial fishers, will now be required to obtain a license. We understand that the Government of Greenland has made significant progress in this regard by implementing a digital licensing system. All fishers will also be required to provide an accurate and detailed report of their fishing activities and landings, including no fishing effort and zero landings, prior to receiving a license to fish the following year. These requirements will provide parties to the WGC with increased confidence in the accuracy of the reported landings and fishing activities moving forward.

Prior to the Annual Meeting of the WGC, the signing of a Conservation Agreement (CA) was announced by the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF), and the KNAPK (The Association of Fishermen and Hunters in Greenland). The details of the CA are confidential, known only to the involved parties. As such, the details have not been publicly available to the U.S. Delegation or other NASCO parties. We understand the agreement to be between private entities, the two NGO groups and KNAPK, and that its terms do not bind the Government of Greenland. Further, we understand that KNAPK only represents the professional hunters and fishers of Greenland, and does not represent the non-professional, private fishers who fish for their own personal consumption. As a result, we understand the agreement does not affect this component of the fishery. Our understanding is that the CA allows up to a 20 mt quota covering professional fishers only and that this quota would cover their landings for both commercial sales in local open air markets within each community as well as any harvests for their own personal consumption.

At the WGC, our negotiations are exclusively with the Contracting Parties to NASCO, which includes Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland). Based on the scant information available informally, we believe the 20 mt quota outlined within the CA was exclusively for the professional fishers within KNAPK. Given this, the 30 mt quota outlined within the newly adopted NASCO regulatory measure for the West Greenland fishery allows for both the commercial and personal use fishery prosecuted by the professional fishers, as well as the newly licensed private fishers who fish for their own consumption.

Despite the sparse amount of public information available on the CA, we endeavored to take it into account in developing the regulatory measure as both efforts work toward the common goal of the conservation of the resource. In that regard, our efforts have been focused on improving the management and control of the fishery while attempting to balance, to the greatest extent possible, stock conservation needs with other competing interests. We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the WGC Parties on Atlantic salmon conservation and management.