Danish Government in fishing scandal

Fishing Scandal trawler Denmark Fishing Northern Denmark Beam trawler fishing followed by seabirds. Northern Denmark. North Sea Expedition 2017. July 2017. EUO © OCEANA Juan Cuetos

Danish Government caught up in fishing scandal

The Danish Ministry for fishing reports so-called ”quota-kings” to the police following a critical report. Over-fishing in Denmark naturally affect Norway, as fish does not respect national borders.


 On Tuesday, August 15th the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food asked the police to initiate an investigation of a number of fishermen and fishing companies in Denmark.

The call for police investigation occurred a day prior to the release of a report (pdf, in Danish) by the National Audit Office of Denmark, which was highly critical of both the management and allocation of fishing quotas by the Ministry and even points toward possible illegalities therein.

In response to the announcement, Oceana Europe’s executive director Lasse Gustavsson released the following statement:

“Denmark has allocated the majority of its fishing quotas to a handful of ‘quota-kings’ and the public has every right to be outraged. The government and their ministers should serve the public and sustainable fisheries and not the short-term interest of a few industrial fishing companies. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen took a step in right direction by taking the fisheries portfolio away from Esben Lunde Larsen. Now he must stop the shady relationships between the Ministry and the fishing industry”.

Over-fishing due too poor management

The report states, among other things, that the Ministry’s inadequate management of quota ownership has resulted in several fishermen exceeding their catch quotas.

Oceana has for a long time actively campaigned for the Danish Government to put an end to over-fishing. Denmark is one of the major contributors to the over fishing of the Western Baltic cod, and has historically been pushing for quotas much higher than scientifically recommended.

For decades, politicians across Europe have ignored scientific advice when setting annual fish catch limits, thereby allowing for over-fishing to reach current critical levels.

A study published by Oceana in 2016 in cooperation with leading fisheries expert Dr. Rainer Froese showed that in European seas, 64% of fish populations are currently being over-fished. In the Mediterranean Sea, the situation is even worse as over-fishing has reached a severity level of 96%.

It is by no means the first time Danish fishermen have been caught in fishing scandals, not so many years ago it was revealed that they systematically dumped “unwanted” fish to rot in Skagerak.

Minister for fisheries in Norway, Per Sandberg, has not yet commented on the report.


© oceana.org / Norway Today