Luftpost 463: Christmas |

Salmon fishing with Inuit in Alaska – Photo: Fecker

People, animals, nature, all life on earth, but also business, politics, leisure and travel are exposed to interactions. Everything is connected in this global system. If you change the balance on one set screw, this is not without consequences in other areas. We see that with climate change and the warming of the oceans. And not just in the past ten years, when climate research has been warning of disastrous consequences. This has been felt in Greenland since the 1970s. The almost unnoticed warming of the waters around the world’s largest island forced the seals to move further north. The seal was the livelihood of the Greenlanders. Their nutritious flesh provided the people of the Arctic with the energy to survive in the harsh environment, their fur protected them from the cold, and their blubber provided light on the long winter nights.

However, warming seas have provided cod and Atlantic salmon with a new habitat. The Greenlanders turned to fishing from then on. And now I come to the Bing Crosby mentioned in the last airmail, his Jingle Bells and his White Christmas. The American pop singer and film actor was a passionate sport fisherman. At every opportunity he flew with some of his millionaire friends to his log cabin on a lake in northern Canada. Influential politicians were also his guests. Over the years, he has noticed that the rivers and lakes of Canada’s wilderness are declining in salmon populations. The culprits were quickly found: the Greenlanders fished out the salmon! How dare they! Bing Crosby capitalized on his popularity and urged Congress to use the Canadian government to pressure Denmark to ban Greenlanders from fishing! Enraged, the Danish government instead banned the sale of Bing Crosby’s records in their country. However, this did not bother the singer much, his records enjoyed worldwide popularity. He worked increasingly on his political friends.


In February 1971, US Congressman Richard Buck imposed an embargo on products from countries fishing in the waters around Greenland. This affected the Norwegians, among others. Meanwhile, Henry Kissinger feared for the cohesion of NATO and increased the pressure on Denmark through familiar channels. The Danish government caved in first in 1972, and two months later the Norwegians also gave in. Eventually, it also hit the Canadians themselves, who were no longer allowed to lay out their nets in waters between Greenland and Canada.

When my wife and I traveled to Greenland in the winter of 1974, the salmon war was still in full swing. The Greenlanders only accounted for 6% of the vital fish catch in their own waters. No wonder you’re there on Bing Crosby, on Jingle Bells, Merry christmas and all his other Christmas tearjerkers was bad to speak.

Andreas Fecker

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