Norway bans salmon fishing in 33 rivers as stocks plummet

man's hand holding fishing rod

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 Sunday night, has come at the height of the fishing season.

Some groups are placing part of the blame for falling wild salmon numbers on aquaculture. The main cause, however, is thought to be climate change, with higher temperatures recorded in Norwegian rivers. Some sea fishing has also been stopped.

Sweden, where there is very little salmon farming, is also experiencing similar problems and is expected to take similar action in some of its rivers.

The Norwegian Environment Agency said it was taking the action “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.

The statement added: “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.

Ellen Hambr, the agency’s Director, said: “It is therefore crucial not to risk a long term failure.”

She added that 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.

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