Norwegian Salmon Nets Before the Security Council in Russia

Murmansk – Reykjavik, Sept. 2012

Between 60% and 70% of spring salmon caught by the Norwegian nets are the valuable Russian salmon that provide the bulk of Russia’s spawning stocks. An International committee of scientists has confirmed that the salmon are of Russian origin. NASF and others have repeatedly told the Norwegian government that the Finnmark fishery violates Article 66 of the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty.

Now Governor Kovtun has commissioned Oleg Zabolotskiy, Head of Committee of Fishing Industry in the Murmansk Regional Government to prepare a brief on the problem. He will submit it to a meeting of the Russian Security Council that will take place in the Murmansk region during the winter.

Governor Kovtun invited Mr. Orri Vigfusson, chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund to a meeting in Murmansk where the decline of the salmon stocks in the North Atlantic was discussed at length. Madam Kovtun said “We have more than 100 unspoilt rivers and sport fishery has become an important part of our tourism. More and more Russian and foreign sport anglers visit our region. Wild salmon shouldn’t be killed by nets as there are plenty of other species of fish that are good for human consumption. It is also unpleasant to see salmon damaged by Norwegian fishing nets.”

Nils Pettersen, the Chairman of the Norwegian River Owners Association, expressed the view that a removal of the Norwegian nets would help Norwegian rivers to recover. The Norwegian National Science Council complains that 124 Norwegian salmon rivers have had to be closed to angling because of insufficient spawning stocks. NASF believes that if Norway continues to allow its salmon netting to take place the rivers of the Kola Peninsula will suffer the same fate.

The North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) is an international coalition of voluntary private sector conservation groups who have come together to restore stocks of wild Atlantic salmon to their historic abundance. – (Orri Vigfusson tel: +354 893 3553)

Marina Kovtun is the third ever female governor in the history of Russia. Of the country’s 83 governors only one other is headed by a woman, Natalya Komarova from the Khanty-Mansiisky AO. Valentina Matviyenko, who is now Speaker in the Federation Council, was Governor of St. Petersburg in the period 2003-2011.

Kovtun was born in Murmansk in 1962 and has lived and worked in the region all her life. She has held several positions in the regional administration within the departments for public social safety, for tourism, sport and culture, and for economic development. The three last years she has had high-ranking positions in the Norilsk Nickel regional subsidiary Kola Mining and Metallurgy Company, lately as Deputy General Director.

In December 2011 Marina Kovtun was elected to the Murmansk Regional Duma, where she took position as First Deputy Speaker and also became head of United Russia’s fraction.


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