Norway bans salmon fishing on 33 main rivers

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Decision following evidence that the salmon population is crashing

Norway suspended salmon fishing in 33 of its main rivers at the weekend following evidence that the population of the species is crashing. This sudden action, which went into effect on June 23, has come at the height of the fishing season.

Sweden is also experiencing similar problems and is expected to take similar action in some of its rivers.

The Norwegian Environment Agency:

"Reduced salmon populations are due to human activity. Escaped farmed fish, salmon lice and humpback salmon are the biggest threats. We also see a lower survival rate in the sea. It is uncertain to what extent climate change affects the salmon today, but it will change the salmon's living conditions in the future. Climate change reinforces the need to deal with other threats, and ensure the populations' ability to adapt to these changes."

"The action is taken 'with a heavy heart'. Trondelag is one of the main areas affected but so far fishing is still being permitted further north in Nordland, Troms and Finnmark. The move will also badly hit the tourist trade in the affected areas. We know that summer salmon fishing is an important tradition and a great joy for many, but now every salmon simply counts. It is our responsibility to ensure enough spawning fish enters the rivers so there will be enough young salmon next year to carry the stock forward. It is therefore crucial not to risk a long term failure. Wild salmon had been at low levels for some time, but the situation was a lot worse this year. Catches were well below half what they should be". 

The ban is open-ended, and it is assumed it will remain in place until the stocks show sufficient recovery.

The move has angered some sports fishermen, but most of the main associations believe the action to be regretfully necessary.

EAA (Norway) is on the case. Besides meetings with the Norwegian Environment Agency and the Norvegian ministries concerned, EAA has started up a salmon task force. Altlantic salmon is under threat not only in Norway but "everywhere". 

The Angling Trades Association (UK) commented: "ATA's continued involvement in England Fisheries Group meetings with the likes of DEFRA, Natural England and others is vital if a similar situation is to be avoided in the UK. The socioeconomic argument from the angling industry can only be sustained through member involvement and growth". 

Source: Norvegian Environment Agency