70,000 pink salmon caught in Norwegian rivers

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“Dramatic”, says researcher Henrik H. Berntsen.

The Norwegian Environment Agency has launched a major offensive to get rid of the invasive species. But, despite more fishing, there appear to be ever more humpback salmon arriving in Norwegian rivers.

Currently, around 70,000 pink salmon have been caught in Norwegian watercourses this year. 50,000 of these were taken in east Finnmark, close to the Russian border.

Last week, SalmonBusiness published a story on a reported increase in the number of humpback salmon being found in UK waters.

“Even though it was expected that there would be a lot of pink salmon, I am surprised that there was so much,” said researcher Henrik H. Berntsen at the Norwegian Institute for Natural Research to NRK .

Humpback salmon. PHOTO: Ørjan Solheim

“I would describe it as dramatic,” he said.

Berntsen points out that it is not yet known what the effect of pink salmon in the rivers is.

“If you take the Vesterelva in Nesseby, which is a relatively small river where you get as many as 20,000 pink salmon. If all of them are to go up and spawn in the river and die after spawning, and remain lying rotten in the river, then we expect that it must have some kind of consequences for our own salmonids,” said Berntsen.

Pink salmon spawn every two years. Previous invasions of the fish occurred in 2017 and 2019. This year’s run is by far the largest to date.