Today, fishing is Greenland’s most important industry, providing the country with the largest portion of its export income. Fishing replaced the more traditional seal hunting as the primary industry during the cod fishing adventure in the 1930s. In 1960 alone, foreign trawlers caught more than 400,000 tons of codfish in the fishing banks along the Greenlandic west coast.
Cod stocks come to and disappear from Greenland’s waters during a hundred year’s cycle – according to 300 years of records. Shrimping took over the role of codfishing when the cod disappeared near the close of the last century.
Shrimping began in the 1950s in the Disco Bay area, which to this day provides good fishing grounds, although the largest portion of the catch is taken out in the open sea.
For 2006, Greenland’s government established shrimp quotas for the west coast at 134,000 tons and 12,000 tons for the east coast. Of this quota the European Union was dealt 4,000 tons based on an established fishing agreement.
After shrimp, halibut is the most important export commodity it success driven by foreign demand for the delicious smoked Greenlandic halibut. Fishing for halibut takes place in the Disco Bay area as well as in the di- as an industry was already in decline in the 1930s at the districts of Uummannaq and Upernavik. The annual catch approaches 12,000 tons.
Crab has also become an important export commodity and is caught along the stretch of coast from Pa- amiut all the way up to Disco Bay. The government set the total quota for 2006 at 5,700 tons of which 1,000 goes to the European Union based on the established fishing agreement mentioned above.
Seal hunting has since become a secondary industry in Greenland. The relatively few seal hunters left, represent that group in society with the lowest income. The furrier, Great Greenland, purchases 72,000 Greenlandic seal skins annually, with supplementary financial assistance from the national treasury. Hunting as an industry was already in decline in the 1930s at the time when fishing replaced seal hunting and the new Greenland was being born.