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  1. #1
    Fish&Fly
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    Norway's June 2010. Exceptional quality fish but fewer of them!

    Taking two of Norway’s best rivers as a guide it seems Norway’s downward spiral continues this June. The numbers are 10 -15% lower than last year which was an average year in its own right.



    The quality of fish being caught is un-surpassed anywhere in the world (The Gaula June salmon average 17.5lb!) but the numbers are diminishing. Yet still the attitude is catch & keep rather than almost everywhere else in the Atlantic salmon world where catch & release is the norm. This in-river exploitation coupled with commercial netting exploitation is simply too much for the salmon stocks.

    Since year 2000 Norway’s rod catches have simply got worse and worse. It has got so bad in places that 120 rivers are actually closed to fishing. Yet, those fishing the Gaula, Orkla and others are catching salmon of dream quality – with two massive 50lb fish landed from the Namsen this year too. When we see fish caught like this it is so easy to think that all is well. But the figures show very, very clearly that it is not.

    So why are the Norwegian anglers (and visiting anglers) killing nearly all of the fish they catch despite the trend? We have no idea but it is flabbergasting! – and it will end in tears. Let’s do some simple sums: This June on the Gaula at least 1500 salmon have been killed by rods at an average size 17lbs. Say, half were hen fish carrying 400 eggs per pound. This means the Gaula anglers have removed a potential 5.1 million eggs from the system. Hello? – wake up people. Let’s hope they change their attitude before it is too late. Put it another way, buy off the remaining nets, practise catch & release and Norway would have both salmon and anglers flocking back to their rivers in greater and greater numbers!

    Scotland has been through all of this pain in the late 80s and early 90s. The old guard were massively against catch & release but dwindling numbers made even them realise that you simply must safeguard the breeding stock of the future. Dead salmon don’t spawn.

    Norway is the guardian of arguably the finest race of Atlantic salmon in the world. I really, truly, honestly wish these fish were in better hands.








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  2. #2
    haraldoyen
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    I find these figures quite disturbing and even more so when looking at statistics from year 2000 till 2009 where more than 2.2 mill salmon have been killed in fjord netting and river fishing in Norway! However, I think there is a gradual awakening to the importance of catch and release in Norway too and this season the Verdal River in the Central Norway region has reported a 30% release! Congratulations to Verdal River!

    Regards
    Harald

  3. #3
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    Well done the Verdal! And there are some beats I know on the Orkla and Gaula that are taking responsibility for their salmon and actively encouraging catch & release.

    The Aunan beat of the Orkla deserves a special mention because of the keen conservation measures promoted by owner Vegard Heggem. He represents the new forward thinking generation of Norwegian anglers and must be applauded.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harald Oyen View Post
    when looking at statistics from year 2000 till 2009 where more than 2.2 mill salmon have been killed in fjord netting and river fishing in Norway!
    Harald - how many! 2.2 Million!!!!

    Norway, here is a date for your diary: Year 2023. Because at the current rate or reduction that's when Salmon will be basically extinct in most of Norway.



    Unless there is a major change of attitude and Norway takes immediate action then their salmon are doomed. Norway you have 13 years.

    Ok, we know its not as simple as this but surely this must be a wake up call. It's not too late. You have the best race of salmon in the world. Look after them.

  4. #4
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    Slowly improving

    I also find it a bit frustrating that so many salmon still are being killed in Norwegian rivers. But we must not forget that c&r is still a relatively new thing in Norway. The attitude towards c&r has matured in a very positive manner since the strict bag limits were introduced in rivers like Orkla and Gaula a couple of seasons ago. I have seen that even old school local fishers are starting to release fish, and feeling perfectly comfortable about it. This is very positive, as it will kill the myth that c&r is something practiced only by fly fishing millionaires, and the conspiracy theory that some people have; that the strict regulations are not introduced as a necessary conservation measure, but only to make the fishing experience difficult and unattractive for the "common", "loqal", "budget" fishers that don't fish with a fly. This, unfortunately, takes the whole conservation debate off track.

    I perfectly understand fishers that like to keep a fish to eat, and I don't think this ever should be criticised as long as the regulations on the river allows for it. Fewer and fewer Norwegian salmon are being killed to be put into an already overfilled freezer. This is good news, and I'm confident that this development will continue. Slowly but surely.

    Vegard Heggem
    Aunan Lodge, Orkla.

  5. #5
    Fish&Fly
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    Delighted to hear what you are saying Vegard and let’s hope the change accelerates. Norway seems to me a very clear case of over exploitation by both nets and river fishermen. And it is wrong to stop one just for the other to catch more! Cropping a surplus is one thing but systematically de-populating is another!

    On an even more positive note I also saw that your beat is practising what you preach here. A magnificent 44lb salmon caught and returned an Aunan. Congratulations to all involved and a Nation's thanks must go to the fly fisherman, Trond Syrstad.

    Regards

    Colin

  6. #6
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    Angry

    The killing of fish in Norway has an even darker side Ed, when some of the knock it on the head, and it would not go back sort come from the UK.

  7. #7
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    Yes, sorry about that - not our finest export! Over here there are still people killing fish on the Wye which is on its knees. Even though I don't know how they could, it is legal and until regulations are put in place then they are perfectly entitled to do so, which is a real pity. Some rivers in Norway should put mandatory C&R in place immediately.

    But you make a very valid point.

    Colin.

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