Salmon conservation group welcomes Greenland fishing ruling

A moratorium on commercial salmon fishing in Greenland will continue after a decision was reached by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) at a meeting last week. The catch off the west coast of Greenland, where salmon from America’s east coast migrate each year, will be restricted to internal use until 2014, unless a significant increase in fish numbers is recorded before that time.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), which strives to protect and restore the ecosystems on which wild Atlantic salmon depend, has welcomed the news.

Sue Scott, vice president of communications for the organisation, said, “This continues a suspension that has been in effect since 2002, and during that time we have seen a moderate increase in large salmon that migrate to Greenland. The extended time will allow significant conservation programmes to take hold and further restoration of our salmon to evolve.”

Ms Scott also commended this week’s decision to remove the Great Works Dam on the Penobscot River in Maine. The dam will be knocked down as part of a bigger programme that will see the removal of another dam and upstream passages made for the fish at two other locations.

As salmon from the Penobscot migrate to Greenland each year, the restoration project would be threatened by any significant Greenland catch. Once the project is completed, ASF says 11 species of fish will benefit from the improved access to around 1,000 miles of their native sea-run.

“The Atlantic Salmon Federation and our partners can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for the short-term, that the fruits of their labour will not be victims of a distant water fishery,” concluded Ms Scott.