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Show news archive News & Seafood Insight

Expanding the base – fishery and purchase


The supply of raw materials to Royal Greenland’s production sites saw a positive development in 2019 with a total 15% increase compared to 2018. This growth primarily comes from the development in purchasing of prawns, Greenland halibut and snow crab directly from independent fishermen in Greenland and Canada. In Canada, where quotas on prawns and snow crab has been reduced in most areas, our subsidiaries have managed to maintain or increase our share of landings through a good cooperation with the independent fishermen.


Royal Greenland’s fleet comprises three ocean-going prawn trawlers, two ocean-going production trawlers for Greenland halibut, cod, etc., a line boat for Greenland halibut, cod, etc., and two smaller inshore prawn trawlers. Additional to these is an investment in a number of large cutters for fishing in Northern Greenland, to increase the volumes of Greenland halibut supplied to the factories, which had a positive effect in 2019.

In 2019, the production trawler M/tr Sisimiut and the prawn trawler M/tr Qaqqatsiaq were replaced by two newbuildings, M/tr Sisimiut and M/tr Avataq. This has increased the offshore fisheries capacity.

Take the virtual tour of M/tr Sisimiut here

Read more about M/tr Avataq here

The prawn trawler M/tr Nataarnaq will be replaced in 2021 by a new trawler that is being built at Murueta Astilleros shipyards in Bilbao, Spain.

In 2019, the Group's fisheries totalled 55,700 tonnes, which is a decline by 9% from 2018. The downturn is related to the lower prawn fishing capacity due to one less trawler for a six-month period in conjunction with the replacement of M/tr Qaqqatsiaq, and a planned yard visit for M/tr Nataarnaq. In addition, pelagic fishing was lower in 2019 due to a decline in mackerel fishing in Greenlandic waters.


Royal Greenland’s processing plants in Greenland received 66,745 tonnes of fish and shellfish during the financial year, which represents an increase of 5%. The increase is due to higher supplies of prawn and Greenland halibut, while cod continued to decline in volume terms and now accounts for only around half of the volumes in 2016-2017.

Outlook for 2020 looks promising for the Greenlandic fishery, the prawn quota for West Greenland is again increased, from 105,000 to 110,000 tonnes, in accordance with biologists’ recommendation and the MSC management plan. Moreover, the start of the inshore cod fishery leaves room for optimism, after two years of decline, most areas report a solid biomass and good catch in the fjords.

In Canada, Royal Greenland owns and operates processing facilities in Newfoundland, Quebec/Gulf of St. Lawrence and in Nova Scotia, but does not conduct its own fishing. All production is based on the purchase of fish and shellfish from independent fishermen and fishing companies. The principal species are prawn and snow crab.

In Newfoundland the principal species are snow crab and prawn. The crab quota in Newfoundland was reduced by 15% in 2019. Despite falling crab quotas, Royal Greenland’s Newfoundland subsidiary, Quin-Sea Fisheries, managed to expand its market share, and its crab activity thus remained unchanged. In 2019, the company opened a new factory in New Harbor for the production of live lobster. Lobster production will be scaled up in the coming years and will include raw, cooked and live lobster. In 2019, there was also further focus on sea cucumber, and cooperation on this species was established between Newfoundland and Greenland.

The prawn quota was reduced again in 2019, in all fishing areas. The quota is expected to stabilise in 2020. Royal Greenland’s deliberate diversification of activities on several geographical quota areas reduces vulnerability to quota fluctuations. In view of the increasing prawn quota in Greenland, Royal Greenland's global prawn volume thus remains unchanged.

In Quebec/Gulf of St. Lawrence the prawn quota was reduced by 25%. There are signs of stabilisation or a small increase in 2020. To supplement the prawn production, crab production was established at the factory in Matane. 2019 was the first season with full crab production. Increased crab activity in 2020 is expected.

In Nova Scotia, the crab stock is healthy, and larger quotas are expected in the coming years. Royal Greenland’s subsidiary A&L Seafoods saw a high level of activity. The company is continuing to expand its raw material volumes, and once again in 2020, further growth in the crab intake is expected.

In overall terms, 21,500 tonnes of raw material were purchased, for processing at the factories in Atlantic Canada, which is an increase of 20% from 2018, among other things as a consequence of the acquisition of A&L Seafoods.

Next news: Growth through resource expansion