Greenland’s live cod season
Royal Greenland hopes to buy 5000 tonnes of live cod from coastal fishermen this year. Image: Inga Egede/Royal Greenland

Greenland’s live cod season

Royal Greenland is ready to start buying live cod from fishermen along the coast of Greenland.

‘We are allowed to fetch fish from Paamiut in the south to Disko Bay in the north this year, and so net cages are being delivered to fishermen throughout the area,’ said Royal Greenland operations manager Sten Sørensen.

The company has bought live cod since 2014. Image: Inga Egede/Royal Greenland

‘The bottom net fishery in the Nuuk area is already in progress, and we are authorised to purchase 2700 tonnes of live cod in the Nuuk fjord. Initial feedback is that the net cages are being filled, so we are well underway,’ he said.

This is the sixth consecutive year that Royal Greenland purchases live cod, collected by well boat Maniitsoq, and brought to Royal Greenland’s factory in Maniitsoq, where the fish is processed to produce the delicate Nutaaq-Cod.

The live cod fishery has expanded since 2014 when small boat fishermen took part, but Sten Sørensen commented that they do not yet know how many fishermen along the coast will be participating this year.

‘Typically, the fishermen only register when the season starts. In 2019, 188 fishermen from all over the coast participated,’ he said.

‘We have a total of 200 net cages that we can distribute to the fishermen, and we have the opportunity to send more to the areas that have the best fishing. All areas get 10 to 20 net cages to start with and we add more we as needed.’

Volumes have varied from year to year and last year dropped to only 2000 tonnes as cod were scarce. Normally 4-5000 tonnes per season have been bought by Royal Greenland.

‘I’m excited to see how things are going. We generally do not see much cod in the Disko Bay area, Kangaatsiaq and Sisimiut, but in Maniitsoq, Nuuk and Paamiut the fishermen are positive. We’ll see what happens. We hope to get 4000 tonnes. If we get 5000 tonnes I will be a happy man,’ Sten Sørensen said.

Royal Greenland’s plant in Maniitsoq is expected to produce Nutaaq-Cod from week 19 through to October 2020. If there is a gap in the supply of live cod here over the summer, production can be switched to halibut so that staff are not sent home.