Canada – Denmark fishing dispute looms –

Canada – Denmark fishing dispute looms Published:  08 February, 2010

A FISHING dispute is hotting up between two unlikely countries – Canada and Denmark – over the ownership of Hans Island a tiny barren atoll off the coast of Greenland.

But is the main fish catch known as northern shrimp which is at the centre of the row.

The Canadian Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea last week accused Denmark for overfishing in international waters off the coast of Newfoundland, and has issued a warning that vessels from Greenland, which remains a Danish protectorate and the Faroe Islands that they will be barred from Canadian ports unless they agree in the next week to stick to a 334-tonne shrimp quota established under the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization conservation agreement.

A Canadian government spokesman said: “Denmark has “unilaterally” set a 3,100-tonne quota for its Greenlandic and Faroese fleets in the “3L” section of ocean just beyond Canada’s 350-kilometre economic zone, which “sets a dangerous precedent that could impact conservation of the species.

Hans Island is the smallest of three islands between that part of Canada and Greenland in an area of sea known as the Kennedy Channel. Its sovereignty has been the subject of dispute between Canada and Denmark for some years.

Denmark’s share of the shrimp quota amounts to just one per cent of the total catch allocation, while Canada has 80 per cent of the quota. The Canadian Embassy in Ottawa has so far decline to comment on the warning which could mean that Greenland and Faroese vessels will have to find other countries to land their catches. Gunboats, however, are not expected to appear over the horizon any time soon.