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Save the wild salmon!

Wild salmon caught  in the Neiden river in Finnmark.

Norway, Russia and Finland join forces to improve management of salmon stocks in coastal waters and in rivers of the Barents Region.

Traditional catching of salmon in the Neiden river in Finnmark.
Traditional catching of salmon in the Neiden river in Finnmark. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Wild Atlantic salmon swimming up the rivers of the Barents Region is a symbol of healthy and vital ecosystems. Salmon fishing is at the same time of significant cultural importance. Locals around the coast and along the salmon rivers consider the fishing season to be the most holy part of the year.

Wild salmon is under threat from rapid growing salmon-farming, parasites and other activities with impact of the important eco-systems of the salmon rivers and coastal waters in the north.

In a €3,1 million project, researchers and management authorities in Norway, Russia and Finland now starts to develop an integrated, long-term management program for saving the wild salmon in the Barents Region.

River boat on Tana, on of the best salmon rivers in Europe.
Typical river-boat on Tana, one of the best salmon rivers in Europe and border between Norway and Finland. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

During the coming three year period, the number of escaped farmed salmon will be systematically identified. The information collected will be used to make recommendations on how to deal with escaped salmon. 

The trilateral project is the first ever large-scale management program between the Barents countries on how to recommend a common sustainable management of wild salmon.

Country Governor of Finnmark is lead partner in the project on the Norwegian side.

- We will leave a legacy of active cooperation and dialogue among management, various research disciplines, and local fishermen and fishing organizations, says Finnmark County Governor Gunnar Kjønnøy to BarentsObserver.

The Governor underlines the importance of bringing together traditional and local knowledge with modern science and research.

All the very best salmon rivers in Europe are located in the Barents Region, among them Vefsna, Rana, Alta, Tana, Neiden, Litsa, Yokanga, Ponoi and Varzuga.

Fishing nets.
Salmon fishing nets for drying on the shores of  the Varanger fjord. Photo: Thomas Nilsen 

Project partners in Finland are Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute and Kevo Research Station. Although Finland do not have coastline in the north, Tana river makes the border between Norway and Finland in the north and Neiden river (Näätämöjoki) starts in Finland.

In Russia, PINRO research institute in Murmansk is project partner.

Half of the €3,1 million project funding is provided by Kolarctic, a European Union financing program for cross-border cooperation in the Barents Region.