Greenland ship arrives in port day after federal ban
SYDNEY — There was some confusion this week over the Department of Fisheries and Oceans decision to close all Canadian ports to fishing vessels from Greenland and the Faroe Islands, after a shrimp trawler from Greenland appeared in Sydney harbour Monday.
Crew members of the Markus, out of Nuuk, Greenland, said the ship was on contract to North Sydney’s MV Osprey, whose shrimp trawler the Northern Eagle caught fire Dec. 25 off the coast of Labrador and has been out of service for repairs.
They said the factory freezer/trawler will likely head out to the 3L region to fish for shrimp and then turn north to the shrimp waters between Canada’s Baffin Island and Greenland.
Port and government officials gave differing answers over whether the ship was allowed into Sydney harbour.
Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea announced Sunday her decision to close all Canadian ports to fishing vessels from Greenland and the Faroe Islands, saying shrimp fishermen from those territories weren’t following quotas set by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization.
“Our government will continue to do whatever is necessary, under the law, to protect Canadian fishermen and the sustainability of the industry,” Shea said in a press release announcing the port closures.
Denmark, which has made Greenland and the Faroe Islands autonomous territories under its rule, has objected to its conservation quota for shrimp in the 3L region. Shea said the ports closure will remain in effect until Denmark withdraws its objection.
The Markus first docked Monday at the marine terminal in Sydney, then moved over to the MV Osprey wharf in North Sydney, Tuesday.
Despite the ban announced Sunday, port officials in Sydney said they were unaware of the details of the announcement.
Sydney Ports Corp. general manager Don Rowe said if a ship comes into port, it’s not up to the local authority to enforce the ban.
“It’s revenue for us, so we said yes,” he said. “If they come in and Transport (Canada) is allowing them in, it’s not a ban as far as I’m concerned.”
A Transport Canada spokesman in Dartmouth said he thought the ban only applied to small DFO-controlled ports.
“As far as I was aware, there was a few Newfoundland ports they were talking about,” said Steve Bone.
Alain Belle-Isle, a DFO spokesman, initially said the ban applied to all fishing vessels in all ports, but later said the Markus, and others like it, would be exempted.
“It is because it’s contracted under Canadian charter, it is exempt from the ban,” said BelleIsle.
He also said DFO would be clarifying the ports closure with other federal and port officials.
“If there has been some miscommunication, that will have to be resolved,” he said.
Shrimp trawler Markus, out of Nuuk, Greenland, was docked at the MV Osprey wharf in North Sydney, Tuesday. The ship, which is under contract by MV Osprey, caused some confusion in light of a recent announcement by federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea to close all Canadian ports to fishing vessels from Greenland and the Faroe Islands.