2018 is invitably reaching an end, and is by many considered a salmon year we should quickly forget, whilst others again had a good year.
The last couple of seasons have really been years of contrast here in Lakselva. 2017 was one of the wettest seasons in many years, with a high water level and the challenges combined with that, whilst 2018 was one of the driest, with other challenges occuring. With more and more visible climate changes, we might fear more of this in the future. This will again challenge us as fishermen, but with an incredible rate of technological advances in fishing equipment, and eager fishermen, we can count on catching salmon also in the future.
That being said, there are other, even more defined threats to our salmon, has come to show lately. I'm obviously speaking of the newly established salmon farms in the Porsanger Fjord. We should take care not to paint an unneccesarily grim picture of the situation, but the experiences are quite unanimous when it comes to the interaction between salmon farms and wild salmon - wild salmon is on the loosing side. Escaped farmed salmon with the following genetical mix is regarded the number one biggest threat to wild Atlantic salmon, in addition increased amounts of sea lice killing smolt and other diseases from farmed salmon to wild salmon. The engagement of you fishermen and other affected parties will be more and more important in days to come, to prevent further damage.
It's highly worrisome that there are not stricter rules and regulations set to one of Norway's biggest industries. The people of Porsanger have spoken, and there is a clear resistance against salmon farms within our county borders, and this is also anchored politically. There are however indications that this is changing politically, and we must both locally and other be aware of this and push our politicans into a direction that will not cost us the heirloom that is our wild Atlantic salmon. There won't be only us as sport fishermen who will suffer, but also a wide array of businesses. Wild Atlantic salmon IS identity and it causes engagement and affects a big part of the population.
Luckily, the spotlight has become stronger and stronger on these issues lately. Let's hope for political will, and a will in the industry itself to take these issues seriously. That way the industry can exist together with wild salmon - and we can still have salmon fishing in the future.
However, the development in Lakselva is stable, and our river continues to deliver salmon fishing experiences from the top shelf. Since Christmas is just around the corner I will leave you with this positive remark, and wish you all a Merry Christmas, and salmon fishing experiences for the history books in 2019!