Safer Ocean Migration Ensured

June 21, 2007 — By the Atlantic Salmon Federation ST. ANDREWS, NB — A new Greenland Conservation Agreement will suspend commercial salmon fisheries in Greenland's territorial waters for seven years, beginning with the 2007 season. The fishermen of Greenland have agreed to continue a moratorium which began in 2002 under an earlier agreement. The moratorium has already saved thousands of wild Atlantic salmon that originate in rivers of North America and Southern Europe, migrate to feeding grounds off West Greenland and then return to their home rivers to spawn. The new agreement signed by the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) of North America, the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) of Iceland, and the Organization of Fishermen and Hunters in Greenland (KNAPK), three non-governmental organizations, has been endorsed by the Greenland Home Rule Government which will help enforce it. "This is an outstanding achievement that should ensure the return of many more wild salmon to spawn in the rivers of North America and Southern Europe," said Bill Taylor, President of the ASF, and "we are indebted to Orri Vigfusson of Reykjavik, Chairman of NASF, and Buff Bohlen of Washington DC for their leadership in negotiating this agreement." Both conservationists are members of ASF's Board of Directors. The agreement allows the continuation of salmon fishing for recreation and local consumption, but calls for a sustained effort to reduce the number of salmon being killed thereby. "I am grateful to the leaders of KNAPK," said Mr. Bohlen, "for their commitment to keep this fishery at a minimal level and for their overall cooperation in helping us restore salmon populations in Maine and Eastern Canada." Scientists of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) have recommended that there be no kill of wild salmon off West Greenland for at least the next four years. They estimate that the population there has declined 89 percent from 917,000 in 1975 to a predicted 113,000 in 2007. Salmon that make the long Greenland migration are particularly susceptible to mortality at sea. Fewer than 74,000 large salmon are believed to have made it back to North American rivers last year, while 152,548 salmon are needed to meet the overall basic conservation target. Unfortunately, ICES predicts no improvement in 2008 and 2009. The new agreement is contingent upon the Greenland Government continuing to abide by the scientific recommendations of ICES and adhering to a zero commercial quota under the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean, 1982. ASF and NASF will provide annual contributions to a "Salmon Fund" in Greenland which will be used to finance projects that redirect salmon fishermen into alternative sustainable fisheries, reduce bycatch of salmon in those fisheries, purchase and destroy salmon nets, and provide employment in coastal communities. Visuals, including a graph of salmon numbers (pre-fishery abundance) and an Atlantic salmon migration map can be found at atlanticsalmonfederation.org The Atlantic Salmon Federation is an international, non-profit organization that promotes the conservation and wise management of wild Atlantic salmon and their environment. ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and Western New England. The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.