Posted 12 июля 2023,, 07:11

Published 12 июля 2023,, 07:11

Modified 12 июля 2023,, 07:32

Updated 12 июля 2023,, 07:32

Not a fish, but a zombie! How Russian pink salmon upsets Norwegian fishermen

Not a fish, but a zombie! How Russian pink salmon upsets Norwegian fishermen

12 июля 2023, 07:11
There is a fish fever in Norway. The public is concerned about the appearance of pink salmon in local rivers, which is called «bad Russian fish». It allegedly prevents noble salmon from spawning, and after death it completely poisons reservoirs. In Russia, pink salmon are expected to spawn with outstretched nets, but it is not there.

Alexander Dybin

The Barents Observer publication told about the problem that covers the Norwegian fishing community every two years. It published a video clip that tells about the problem of spawning «Russian pink salmon» in Norwegian rivers.

«We have declared war on these invasive species — this is the main enemy of Norwegian fishermen. Pink salmon or the so-called Russian salmon. This summer fishermen in the north of Norway catch it in large quantities. But this fish is alien to the local fauna», — the story says. — Today in This fish is a valuable resource for Russia. But, having crossed the border, pink salmon fills the rivers of Norway. She is not welcome here, as she threatens the Atlantic salmon population. The situation escalated due to the fact that the Minister of Climate and Environment had to intervene. Every two years pink salmon appears here in large numbers».

The plot shows special traps that cut off pink salmon from more valuable salmon or Atlantic salmon. According to the author, pink salmon simply displaces salmon and prevents it from spawning. And after spawning, more numerous pink salmon die and the river banks are littered with rotting corpses. For this, the fish is also called a «zombie» here. By the way, the same thing — death after spawning — happens with salmon, but not in such quantity.

A similar story happens in Norway every two years when pink salmon comes to spawn. Every year there is more and more of it, in the last spawning the fish was even distributed for free, so long as it did not lay eggs and did not die. Pink salmon in the northern waters is the result of an experiment in the 50s and 60s, when Soviet scientists settled this Far Eastern species in the rivers of the Kola Peninsula. Gradually, pink salmon got used to it and even began to capture the neighboring country. Interestingly, an odd population has spread, which comes to spawn only in odd years. Even — has come to naught, so the fish panic in Norway is repeated every two years.


What about us?


In Russia, unlike its neighbors, they look at pink salmon much more friendly. Novye Izvestia has already written about the experiences of fishermen in the Tersk district of the Murmansk region, who were waiting for an unprecedented spawning this year, but the fish never came. Hundreds, if not thousands of fishermen come to the area of the village of Umba to spawn pink salmon. Someone catches for themselves and fishing excitement, someone tries to earn money, brings freezers, generators and makes a stock to then sell in large cities. Last spawning, 600 tons were caught, this year the quota was set twice as much — 1200 tons. But this time the fish just didn't come.

At first, they sinned against the fishermen, who simply blocked the mouth of the rivers with seines. But we figured it out and realized that the professionals are still sitting without fish. Now the main version is cold. Fishermen hope that it will get warmer and pink salmon will go to the rivers more actively.

Nevertheless, there is also a discussion in Russia about what is more harm or benefit from pink salmon. Salmon spawn in our rivers and also competes with the more active and numerous pink salmon. But this dispute does not go beyond conversations, since there is no in-depth research. Someone says that there is nothing wrong with tons of dead fish, this organic matter helps the ecosystem. Another argument is the example of the Far East, where pink salmon was brought from. There is an order of magnitude more fish going to spawn there and its pestilence after spawning does not lead to a catastrophe, everything is balanced. Opponents of this theory say that the ecosystem in the Far East has been developing for thousands of years and has adapted, and on The Kola peninsula of pink salmon is only 70 years old.


What scientists say


The situation was commented on by representatives of the polar branch of VNIRO, an institute that calculates the volume of fish that can be extracted based on the population size.

«In the domestic media, materials with stories of the expected catastrophic consequences from the next approach of pink salmon to spawn in the rivers of the White and Barents Seas basins are increasingly beginning to appear, » the department reported, «in 2023, more pink salmon will enter the rivers of the Murmansk Region than in previous years. Taking into account the mass stingray of young pink salmon in the spring of 2022, scientists expect that pink salmon may return even more than in 2021, when 604 tons were mined in the region. Can the approach of such a valuable fish as pink salmon be considered a disaster and a catastrophe? After all, we are talking about a very valuable and accessible resource to a wide range of the population, the reasonable exploitation of which will bring considerable profit to fishermen, valuable trophies to amateur fishermen, healthy food on the table for fish lovers.»

At the same time, salmon is getting worse and worse not only in Norway, but also in our country. And the pink salmon here, according to scientists, is not to blame.

«It's no secret that the current state of Atlantic salmon stocks in some of our rivers is critical. This is the „merit“ of insufficiently thought-out hydropower, long-term poaching, diseases and parasites of fish (including those transported from river to river by man). In this state of affairs, it is unreasonable to judge pink salmon as a disaster for freshwater reservoirs, given the current lack of convincing evidence of the negative impact of pink salmon on the reproduction of Atlantic salmon.»

But this does not mean that pink salmon cannot become a problem. This species is not tied to the river in which it was born, which means it can «get stuffed» into the reservoir in large quantities, and these are risks.

«Pink salmon is a so—called „difficult to predict“ object even in the Far East, where scientists have been researching it for many decades, and the production has been going on for centuries. The number of spawned pink salmon also depends on how well the fishing will take place in the summer of 2023. This fish, unlike salmon, is not so confined to the river of its birth and can enter any suitable rivers en masse. If too many pink salmon get into one or another river, it can create certain risks, » they say in the polar branch of VNIRO.

By the way, another argument against the Norwegian panic is the Kamchatka crab, which was also settled by Soviet scientists in the northern waters. Initially, the neighbors were against it, but now they are happy to catch it. And they eat!