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A new project has been launched. It’s called “The International Year of Salmon, IYS.”

Environmental change and human impacts across the Northern Hemisphere are placing salmon at risk. The International Year of the Salmon aims to bring people together to share and develop knowledge more effectively, raise awareness and take action.

In Finland, two of the border rivers are among the best salmon rivers in the world: the River Tenojoki discharging into the Atlantic and River Tornionjoki into the Baltic Sea. Besides the Atlantic and Baltic Sea stocks, landlocked freshwater salmon inhabits Lake Saimaa and the River Hiitolanjoki.

One of the biggest success stories is the recovery of the River Tornionjoki salmon stock from a very weak status to one of the world’s strongest Atlantic salmon populations. This was achieved by determined action and collaboration among Finland and Sweden and between the EU and the Baltic States.

Now increasing attention is paid to the exploitation and management of salmon stocks. The salmon and sea trout strategy guides the exploitation of these species, and landlocked salmon has a strategy of its own. Migration conditions in rivers are being improved by measures under the fish passage strategy.

To improve the living conditions the focus is on harnessed river systems, where barriers to migration are removed and solutions sought to circumvent dams. In such water bodies measures are also taken to restore river habitats and improve spawning sites.

The spectrum of actors is broad indeed. Major restoration projects are carried out in collaboration between the administration and power companies. Voluntary work by private citizens and associations has also produced good results.

Salmon is a very international species, and cooperation is always needed to manage this and other migratory fish stocks.

Cooperation with the neighbors is particularly important—in the River Tornionjoki with Sweden and in Rivers Tenojoki and Näätämöjoki with Norway. With Russia Finland shares the Lake Ladoga salmon stock in the River Hiitolanjoki.

The IYS focal year will be 2019, with projects and activities starting in 2018 and continuing into 2022. The governments of the northern world have been asked to participate and also Finland has now published a video about the Finnish perspectives on salmon.

Picture: A fisherman carrying a salmon of 10.8 kilos. By: Ilkka Jukarainen