Scientists say that stocks in some of the approximately 30 wild salmon rivers in the Baltic are outside safe biological limits and at risk of genetic depletion. So the EU is now proposing to drastically lower the total yearly allowable catch of wild salmon by nearly 80 percent. But, the proposal is pitting small commercial fishers in the north of Sweden against sports fishers there.
An organization called Let Wild Salmon Come Home supports the EU proposal to limit the catch of wild salmon in the Baltic. That proposal would decrease the allowable catch from the current 250,000 fish a year, to just under 53,000.
Sport fisherman, Glenn Douglas belongs to the organization and says decades of mismanagement caused salmon populations to plummet, until the late 90’s, when they managed to get salmon back into the rivers. But he says the salmon population is decreasing again.
And he says some suspicious activity in the southern Baltic also appears to be having an impact on the salmon population in the Baltic.
Association concerned about fisherman in North
The Swedish Fishermen Association, which represents about 70 percent of the Swedish licensed fishers in the country, is against the EU proposal. The Association is trying to save the local, small scale commercial fishers who process their own catches and sell salmon locally in small volumes to stores along the northern coast.
Swedish Fishermen Association Chairman Henric Svenberg says the EU proposal does not take into account the gains made in the salmon population over the past 15 years.
And he says if the EU approves the proposal, it would allow salmon fishing only in the rivers, where the spawning grounds are, and not in the Baltic, with disastrous consequences for the local commercial salmon fishers.
EU members will negotiate the proposal this fall.