The Governor of the Murmansk region, Marina Kovtun, has decided to refer the dispute on Norwegian coastal netting in Finnmark to the Security Council in Russia. Diplomatic talks in the last two years have failed to produce results.
Between 60% and 70% of spring salmon caught by the Norwegian nets are the valuable Russian salmon that provide the bulk of Russia’s spawning stocks. An International committee of scientists has confirmed that the salmon are of Russian origin. NASF and others have repeatedly told the Norwegian government that the Finnmark fishery violates Article 66 of the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty.
Now Governor Kovtun has commissioned Oleg Zabolotskiy, Head of Committee of Fishing Industry in the Murmansk Regional Government to prepare a brief on the problem. He will submit it to a meeting of the Russian Security Council that will take place in the Murmansk region during the winter.
Governor Kovtun invited Mr. Orri Vigfusson, chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund to a meeting in Murmansk where the decline of the salmon stocks in the North Atlantic was discussed at length. Madam Kovtun said “We have more than 100 unspoilt rivers and sport fishery has become an important part of our tourism. More and more Russian and foreign sport anglers visit our region. Wild salmon shouldn’t be killed by nets as there are plenty of other species of fish that are good for human consumption. It is also unpleasant to see salmon damaged by Norwegian fishing nets.”
Nils Pettersen, the Chairman of the Norwegian River Owners Association, expressed the view that a removal of the Norwegian nets would help Norwegian rivers to recover. The Norwegian National Science Council complains that 124 Norwegian salmon rivers have had to be closed to angling because of insufficient spawning stocks. NASF believes that if Norway continues to allow its salmon netting to take place the rivers of the Kola Peninsula will suffer the same fate.