The rivers in Sunnmøre (a district on the west coast of Norway) were among the most prosperous salmon rivers in Norway during the 1960-70s. Svein Aam, a journalist with Sunnmørsposten newspaper, and with fisheries and aquaculture as a specialty, has written a book about the salmon fishing's fairy tale on some of these tiny (by Norwegian standards) west coast rivers and what happened afterwards. The book provides a historical and vivid flashback of a wonderful period of salmon fishing. At the same time the author is trying to get answers to a daily question - What happened to the wild Atlantic salmon in this district?

It has been natural to concentrate on the Bondal and Ørsta rivers, which were among the very best salmon rivers in entire Norway. Some seasons both rivers reported catches of more than 10,000 salmon, mostly grilse. Here, the snobs’ sport of salmon fishing turned into the new peoples’ sport. The story of the prosperous small salmon rivers in the district is also the story of the sad fate of wild Atlantic salmon.” I want to show what we had, what we have lost, and asks why it has gone downhill so fast” says Svein Aam. He grew up in the village of Ørsta and got his first salmon on Bondal River when 12 years old. Since then he has found no cure for the salmon fishing fever.

Salmon has been a unique source of commotion, arguments and joy too. At the same time,
the protection of wild Atlantic salmon is one of the most discussed environmental issues in Norway over the last decades.” I've tried to write an entertaining as well as an genuine book”, says Svein Aam.

The book offers a retrospective view on the drift nets controversy during the 80s - where numerous harsh words were expressed. It ended with the bitterest defeat ever for the mighty Norwegian Fishermen's Association. When the drift nets were gone, it was followed by the rapid growth of the aquaculture industry. “I have followed the growth of the aquaculture industry since the 80s as journalist at Sunnmørsposten and Norwegian Broadcasting. I’m trying to point out in the book that the negative effects of fish farming has been underestimated and to an extent been downplayed, by the fisheries authorities. If drift nets were cuckoos’ chicks, fish farming is the golden chicks - and golden chicks get not thrown out” says Aam.

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