Reduced quotas agreed for wild Atlantic salmon in the North Atlantic

Reduced quotas agreed for wild Atlantic salmon in the North Atlantic
The 19th annual meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) in the Faroe Islands June 3-7 agreed reduced quotas for salmon in the Greenland high seas fishery which allow for a catch of between 20 and 55 tonnes for 2002. No quota was set for the Faroes fishery, but there was no fishing there last year.

Atlantic salmon stocks are at historic low levels and the restraint of the Greenland and Faroes was widely welcomed.

The meeting was attended by 12 European NGOs and two from North America. The Americans, with many salmon stocks endangered, were disappointed that international scientific advice for a zero quota had not been followed.

NGOs call on Ireland to match restraint shown by Greenland
“Agreements like these are about compromise” said Chris Poupard, Chairman of the NGOs at NASCO. “A zero quota would be ideal, but we have to recognise that Greenland is a subsistence community dependent on fishing for its livelihood. The European NGOs applaud their responsible attitude and now call on Ireland to match this restraint in homewaters. Last year Greenland caught about 5,000 salmon; in contrast the Irish commercial fishery took a staggering 237,000 fish. Despite scientific advice for a 40% reduction, Ireland has just announced an average reduction of only 6% for the 2002 catch.”

“Its time for Ireland to demonstrate a real commitment to salmon conservation by implementing their scientists’ advice and making substantial reductions in catch as soon as practically possible.”

Mackerel by-catch may help explain declines in wild salmon stock

Stocks of Atlantic salmon could be under severe threat from the huge mackerel fishery operated in the North Norwegian Sea. Scientists fear that the fishery could be responsible for killing up to 900 000 young salmon as a by-catch. These may represent up to a quarter of the total salmon stock found in the North East Atlantic area.

“This is potentially a huge problem and further delay without firm, precautionary, action, could be disastrous for stocks of wild salmon in the North East Atlantic”.
said Patrick Fothringham, Director of the Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland)

“Exploiting juvenile salmon before they have the chance to grow and reproduce is the quickest way to wipe out the stock. The mackerel fishery has an obligation to operate in a responsible way which protects its own fishery and that of fish which may be accidentally taken. We have urged NASCO parties to seal agreements to apply the precautionary principle and protect both the mackerel and salmon fisheries” – said John Gregory, Chairman of the Institute of Fisheries Management.

Demands to eradicate lethal parasite in Norway
Gyrodacylus salaris is a parasite that has been responsible for eliminating many stocks of wild salmon in Norway. Transferred there from Sweden, Gyrodactylus would pose a serious threat to salmon stocks in the UK if it should ever be introduced.

“When a river is infected with Gyrodactylus, almost all salmon will die within the next few years. We must take action now, before this killer parasite reaches the rivers of Britain.” said Maren Esmark, WWF (Norway).

“Gyrodactylus is an introduced species in Nordic countries, and we now need an action plan where all parties agree to attempt to eradicate the parasite from infected rivers.” said Aage Wold, president of Norwegian Salmon Rivers.

NASCO is an inter-governmental treaty organisation established in 1982. The signatories are Canada, Iceland, Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland, European Union, Norway, Russia and the USA. There are currently 27 accredited Non-Government Observers (NGO)s.