May 28, 2018
Dear NASF supporter,
Ten months ago, many of us travelled to Reykjavik to pay tribute to a legendary figure in the world of salmon conservation, Orri Vigfusson. At the time, we did not yet know what the future of NASF would look like, but we pledged to preserve Orri's legacy, to protect his life's work and, in doing so, to continue to work together to fight for the survival of North Atlantic salmon.
I am happy to report that after months of negotiations, we have now secured a 12 year agreement with the Greenland fishermen's union, KNAPK, to close their commercial salmon fishery. Thanks to tireless efforts by Orri and more recently by the NASF Iceland board members and our partner in salmon conservation, the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), there will be no commercial netting in Greenland's mixed-stock fishery starting this August, allowing thousands of fish to return to their natal rivers across the North Atlantic Basin. Just days earlier, the NASF / ASF team also closed a deal with the Faroese fishermen's union, Laksaskip, ensuring the continuation of a highly valued, decades-long deal banning salmon fishing in that region.
Orri would be proud that we have now agreed to a long-term agreement in Greenland for the first time in history and have extended the 22 year old agreement that he innovated with the Faroe Islands.
These two transactions ensure that increasing numbers of large, adult salmon from all over the Atlantic salmon habitat will spawn in their home rivers starting this August, providing critical population growth for both robust and imperiled stocks. In the case of Greenland, it is the culmination of years of efforts, begun by Orri, aimed at bringing fishermen back to the negotiation table and identifying sustainable economic development projects as alternatives to salmon netting. In the Faroes, this is a continuation of the agreement that Orri put in place in 1991.
Perhaps most importantly, these deals signify the future of NASF. They demonstrate the unwavering dedication of NASF affiliates on both sides of the Atlantic to work together to continue Orri's mission. That was evident this past March, at the first annual Salmon Summit hosted by NASF US, NASF Iceland, and our partners - which many of you attended. Approximately 60 representatives of over 30 NGOs from around the North Atlantic, research institutions, and sustainable industry groups convened in Reykjavik to discuss the state of salmon populations and to strategize a course for supporting remaining stocks. Salmon advocates came together, many for the first time, to discover areas of shared concern and to discuss how we can draw on our unique strengths and areas of expertise to advance the cause. All Summit participants agreed that the time for in-fighting is over. It is critical for us to band together because the challenges faced by North Atlantic salmon are bigger than ever.
There have been several very powerful media productions that have recently been released to increase public awareness of the plight of the Atlantic salmon. We were fortunate at the Salmon Summit to screen or preview several. Among them was the groundbreaking Norwegian documentary “Den fantastiske villaksen” (“Salmon Story”), the highly acclaimed Ocean Foundation production “Lost at Sea,” detailing the research vessel Celtic Explorer and its findings, and a preview of the film “Under the Surface,” which was just released in Reykjavik with the goal of bringing attention to current threats posed by foreign aquaculture industry interests to Iceland’s salmon rivers.
NASF will continue to assist our colleagues in Iceland in this battle against Norwegian companies seeking to expand their fish farming operations into Iceland's pristine fjords. We will work together with NASF affiliates and other partners in Canada, Norway, Sweden, the UK, Ireland and beyond, to coordinate our resources and to create the architecture necessary to enable collaboration - be it in organizing compelling media to educate policy makers, or in promoting sustainable aquaculture regulatory standards that will safeguard salmon consistently across the North Atlantic region.
I invite you to visit our website at www.northatlanticsalmonfund.org to learn more about what we have been doing. We’ve included materials from this year's Salmon Summit here and ask you to save the date for next year's Summit in Norway on May 9th - 11th, organized by our partners Reddvillaksen. And please do consider a donation to the Orri Fund, we cannot do this alone. Sincerely,
Chairman, NASF US
Photos from the historic signing and press release attached. Also attached are photos from the NASF Iceland delegation's April 2018 visit to Greenland fishing communities. Our dedicated team travelled to Nuuk, Mantiisoq, and Kangamiiut in order to meet with fishermen to discuss local concerns and the need for conservation efforts.
May 28, 2018
ASF, NASF sign 12-year salmon agreement with Greenland fishermen
Parties also extend Faroe Island conservation deal
FREDERICTON – The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) have signed new agreements with commercial fishermen in Greenland and the Faroe Islands that will protect thousands of adult wild Atlantic salmon from commercial nets and longlines, allowing them to return to North American and European rivers.
The new Greenland Salmon Conservation Agreement will be for a period of 12-years (2018-2029). Representatives of ASF, NASF, and the Association of Fishers and Hunters in Greenland (KNAPK) finalized the agreement on May 24th in Reykjavik, Iceland, after more than 12-months of negotiations. The Faroe Island agreement between ASF, NASF, and the Faroese Salmon Fishing Vessel Association (Laksaskip) was signed in Reykjavik on May 22nd, continuing a decades-long suspension of commercial salmon fishing dating back to 1991.
The coastal waters of Greenland and the Faroe Islands are critical ocean feeding grounds for large wild Atlantic salmon from hundreds of rivers in North America and Europe. Commercial catches in these areas are known as “mixed-stock” fisheries because salmon are captured from relatively healthy populations as well as endangered ones. This impacts vulnerable rivers like the Penobscot River in the US and the St. John River in Canada, as well as iconic rivers with reduced counts, such as the Tweed in Scotland, Iceland’s Big Laxa, and the Alta in Norway.
“Significantly reducing the harvest of wild Atlantic salmon on their ocean feeding grounds is meaningful and decisive, not only for salmon conservation, but also for global biodiversity and the health of our rivers and oceans,” said ASF President Bill Taylor.
‘“The best way to save North Atlantic salmon is to reduce the number killed," stated NASF US Chairman Chad Pike. “The unique ocean environment surrounding Greenland and the Faroe Islands is where large, mature fish from over 2,000 rivers throughout the North Atlantic are known to spend their winters feeding. These conservation agreements create sanctuaries for wild salmon at these critical habitats, which is a historic win for salmon conservation.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the Greenland and Faroese delegations to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) will declare zero commercial quotas at next month’s international summit in Portland Maine. As a result, mature salmon that would otherwise be removed by commercial nets will begin returning to their home rivers in the spring of 2019.
In exchange for no commercial salmon fishing in Greenland, ASF and NASF will financially support alternative economic development, scientific research, and education initiatives focused on marine conservation. A subsistence harvest by licensed recreational fishermen for personal and family consumption will continue.
In the Faroe Islands, a historic agreement has been in place since 1991 and its salmon fishery has been closed since that time. Orri Vigfusson, founder of the NASF, negotiated the transaction with the forward-thinking Faroese government, who were pioneers in marine conservation, and have recently emerged as leaders in sustainable aquaculture regulation.
Under previous ASF-NASF-KNAPK Greenland Conservation Agreements, scientific and regulatory authorities reported increases in the number of large salmon returning to North American and European rivers. In this case, a 12-year commercial fishing hiatus will provide relief for two entire generations of wild Atlantic salmon and population benefits are expected to be significant.
All money required to support these agreements is raised privately from donors and supporters of ASF and NASF.
For pictures of the signing visit: http://asf.ca/asf-and-nasf-sign-12-year-salmon-agreement-with-greenland-f.html
For more information contact:
Neville Crabbe – ASF Communications
Fridleifur Gudmundsson – Chairman, NASF Iceland
+354 661 4585
The Atlantic Salmon Federation was formed in 1948 to conserve, protect, and restore wild Atlantic salmon and their environment.
The North Atlantic Salmon Fund is a U.S. non-profit corporation founded in 1996, with affiliates in Iceland, Scandinavia, and western Europe.