Monday, February 26, 2024

Norway’s disappearing salmon « Euro Weekly News

SALMON: Numbers are decreasing in Norway’s rivers, anglers find
Photo credit: CC/Bjorn Nesheim

NORWAY’S rivers are no longer teeming with the wild salmon they are renowned for.

Torfinn Evensen, secretary general of Norske Lakseelver, which represents 123 river management groups described the situation as “dramatic.”

“This is concrete evidence of the nature crisis we’re caught in,” Evensen told a Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) interviewer.

Anglers caught 70,593 salmon in 2023, of which approximately 19,000 were returned to preserve stocks.  This was almost 30 per cent below 2022’s catch of 97,678.

“It’s a desperate situation for everyone who cares about Norwegian nature,” Evensen continued.

Asked who was to blame, he unhesitatingly cited the fish-farming industry, explaining that infections – and particularly the salmon lice found in the crowded cages – spread to wild stocks when they escape.

The number of fish farms inside fjords and along the coast needed to be reduced Evensen said. Wild salmon was now so threatened that that some rivers no longer allow recreational fishing, he revealed.

Norway farms more salmon than any other country worldwide but producers rejected claims that their activities are affecting Norway’s wild salmon.

“More than 95 percent of all wild salmon die in the sea,” insisted Henrik Wiedswang Horjen, secretary general of the Sjomat Norge fish-farmers’ association in a written statement to NRK.

“Nor is there any connection between lice outbreaks and the wild salmon that return to the rivers the following year.”

Meanwhile, Norway’s Fisheries directorate will get tougher about enforcing the regulations which require fish farms to supply information on the number of fish they raise and how many escape.

In theory they should warn river managers but in practice they do not provide sufficient cooperation, the Directorate said.

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