Landmark salmon crisis seminar takes place in Trondheim, Norway
In Feb 3 & 4 this year (2010) a very important meeting took place between riparian owners, scientists, government representatives and other stakeholders about the plight of Norway's wild salmon, representing one third of the total North Atlantic salmon (salmon salar).
Viable salmon populations is a prerequisite for preserving the species and
ensure the positive impact sport fishing have for wild salmon. Are we to save it? What measures can we put in place for more salmon in the rivers? And what are the real big threats to wild salmon now?
Presentations and discussions took place on:
* Can fish farming destroy all Norwegian wild salmon?
* Cleaning up farmed salmon practises
* Eradication of farmed salmon escapees (five times the amount of escaped
farmed salmon to wild fish)
* Trøndelag and the Finnmark can be wild salmon's last hope in Europe
* Salmon as a green engine in the travel and tourism industry.
* Can wild salmon be saved?
* The positive impact of the recent net buyouts
* NOK 130 million extra turnover effect from buyouts to local communities
The presentations discussed the bleak future of Norway's salmon population and what action need to be done -- now. The reality is that Norway is probably the most dangerous place in the world to be born into for a smolt.
Things must change.
The conclusions were stark. The Norwegian red-green government must change their attitude to salmon and the environmental quality of its near-shore aquatic environment before it's too late. Politicians are drawn between the fascination of the multibillion fish farming industry and the bilateral international commitment of protecting the threatened wild North Atlantic salmon. There is no room for compromise.
Message to the Salmon Seminar in Trondheim Feb 3 and 4, 2010
Message from Orri Vigfusson, NASF
Sadly, I have to be in North America to look into critical salmon issues and I am unable to join your important conference. But I would like to send you a short message to express my feelings on the Norwegian salmon situation at the beginning of the 2010 decade.
We have prepared a map of the salmon world from the NASF perspective. Take a close look at what it shows and at the few words that highlight the situation in many regions throughout the Atlantic.
The good news is that around 85% of all salmon netsmen and long-liners have now signed up to commercial conservation agreements and are foregoing their historic and sustainable rights to harvest salmon. Yes, they have voluntarily signed up to help us restore salmon stocks to their historic abundance.
The commercial fishermen have meager resources. Yet, with a little bit of philanthropic help, they have taken a meaningful lead. Why are they doing this of their own free will? Because the public sector management has failed them for so long!
There are thousands of individual experts in Norway who could, given the chance, restore the Wild Salmon as a brand in Norway. But the authorities continue to follow faulty or flawed models. I believe that the management and conservation of wild salmon is best suited with active private stakeholders and that bureaucratic interference should be as little as possible. Norway’s official salmon policy will not produce sustainable stocks. More and more rivers are losing their stocks and there appears to be no real strategy to help restore them. It is already too late for those Norwegian rivers where the wild stocks are so low that natural recovery will not be possible. There is very little time left for many rivers that could still be rescued.
I am afraid that Minister Solheim has been a disappointment to me. By continuing the huge sea fishery in Finnmark and stamping his approval on netting that takes fish that should be allowed to return to their Russian and Finnish rivers he is flying in the face of international agreements. In permitting the expansion of salmon farming the Stoltenberg Government is demonstrating its lack of interest in safeguarding the wild fish. All this, I fear, is impoverishing our common efforts to protect wild salmon.