Delegates from countries across the North Atlantic and beyond met in Varberg, Sweden, earlier this month with one goal: to ensure the future of North Atlantic salmon. Despite strict conservation and management over the years, many stocks of this iconic species are in real danger, with threats often difficult to identify and address. At the meeting NASCO and its members considered actions taken on numerous fronts aimed at enhancing the conservation and rational management of Atlantic salmon.
John McCartney (Director of Conservation and Protection) represented the Loughs Agency at the meeting providing updates on the conservation and protection measures implemented in Foyle and Carlingford areas.
Key actions and initiatives from the 34th meeting included:
- As highlighted in a special session, NASCO, in cooperation with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC), and its members are taking steps to implement the International Year of the Salmon (IYS), including planning a high profile kick-off event in 2018, to officially launch this major initiative. IYS is a bold multi-year effort intended to create a hemispheric partnership to facilitate an intense burst of outreach and research that will fill knowledge gaps and catalyse new ways to generate and share knowledge necessary for the resilience of salmon and people in a changing world.
- Also in support of its SALSEA – Track and the IYS, NASCO’s International Atlantic Salmon Research Board highlighted a potentially ground breaking, hemispheric level research activity aimed at improving understanding of salmon migrations and shed light on the key question of why salmon are dying at sea.
- Through an important Theme-based Special Session, NASCO explored the effectiveness of using stocking programs as a tool to support wild Atlantic salmon stocks. The session brought together experts on various aspects of and approaches to stocking and was highly informative, thought provoking, and generated discussion among the Parties about the risks of stocking.
- Norway reported on its success in preventing the spread of the parasite Gyrodactylus salaris and eradicating it from many infected rivers. Work by Norway to fully eradicate this deadly salmon parasite is ongoing. The information shared on these actions is important to the broader effort within NASCO to stop this killer.
- Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland) reported on actions taken by Greenland in 2016 to monitor and control its mixed stock, interceptory salmon fishery in line
with a three-year regulatory measure adopted in 2015. NASCO’s Parties acknowledged the important improvements made by Greenland in managing its fishery but also noted the need for additional steps to enhance monitoring and control further. As the current regulatory measure will end in 2017, an intersessional process is being established to consider the outcomes from the 2017 fishery and begin discussions of a possible future regulatory measure.
- Other NASCO Parties reported on their efforts to monitor and control their commercial, recreational, and/or subsistence fisheries in line with six identified tenets of effective fisheries management. Significant actions have been taken by a number of jurisdictions, including the closure of many fisheries.
- Non-member France (in respect of St. Pierre and Miquelon) reported on its 2016 mixed stock, interceptory salmon fishery, which has seen increases over time. Threatened and endangered populations of salmon from Canada and the United States are vulnerable to this fishery. NASCO will write to France (in respect of St. Pierre and Miquelon) to express its concerns, request effective management action be taken, and ask France to join NASCO in respect of St Pierre and Miquelon.
- In a successful special session, NASCO critically and publicly reviewed how well parties are meeting their NASCO commitments. This review is intended, among other things, to help hold members accountable to those responsibilities. The success of this review and evaluation process is essential to the effectiveness and credibility of the organization. A new review cycle will begin in 2019 and possible improvements to the review and evaluation process will be considered over the course of the coming year.
For further information contact:
Dr Peter Hutchinson, Secretary
Tel: +44 (0)131 228 2551