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Measures for Protection of the Atlantic Salmon in the Kola Watershed

Note: The following is a "Google Translate", subsequently cleaned, of a press release issued by the Governor of the Murmansk Oblast regarding measures to combat a disease outbreak affecting wild Atlantic salmon.

Press Release

"The situation with the wild salmon requires a thorough investigation and a set of measures for the protection of this unique species"
--Marina Kovtun

14/08/2015
Photo below: Marine Kovtun, Governor of Kola Oblast

Due to unfavorable epizootic situation, the Commission on Catch of Anadromous Fish under the leadership of Governor of the Murmansk region Marina Kovtun decided to August 17, 2015 to suspend the recreational and sport fishing Atlantic salmon (Salmon) and pink salmon fisheries in the areas of Kola, Kitsa and Tuloma Rivers.

The decision on the moratorium is dictated by the need to identify the causes and consequences of mass destruction salmon in Kola, prevent the spread of diseases of fish, as well as the principles of respect for the unique livestock North Atlantic salmon conservation objectives and enhance the diversity and abundance of salmon stocks, stressed Marina Kovtun at an emergency meeting of the committee.

"The Kola Peninsula and Iceland are the only regions in the world which still maintain truly healthy populations of wild Atlantic salmon. In the waters of our region spawn huge numbers of salmon, a strategically important gene pool and important to the world-famous brand Kola-Polar region. Until recently, the stocks of Atlantic salmon in the Kola Peninsula, in comparison with other regions of the world remained in good and stable condition. High numbers of healthy fish existed due to the rational use of fish resources, fisheries control system and reproduction, and the monitoring of compliance with fishing regulations. The death of many salmon in recent days requires us to thoroughly investigate and take complex measures to protect the unique population "- said Marina Kovtun.

On receipt of the first signals about the disease and mass death of fish, specialists conducted studies to determine the causative agent. As noted at the meeting of the Commission, the chairman of the Committee on Veterinary Murmansk region Alexey Kasatkin, worked out different versions. The preliminary diagnosis was ulcerative dermal necrosis (UDN). The last recorded outbreak of this poorly studied disease occurred about 40 years ago. Today, there is evidence of similar symptoms of illness of fish in a river in Finland.

The outbreak of disease, said Alexey Kasatkin, likely has been due to abnormally cold water temperatures this year. There is no evidence of infection from aquaculture following a comprehensive study of the matter. All farms engaged in commercial breeding of salmon in the Murmansk region are under the close supervision  of specialists. However, symptoms of the disease have been identified in cages.

The commission members - representatives of industry, research institutions, concerned agencies and institutions were in favor of the suspension of fishing license.

Summing up the meeting of the commission, the Governor of Murmansk Oblast, Marina Kovtun, stressed that the study of the disease outbreak, the need to prevent  mass destruction of salmon, plus further regulation of catche is expected to attract leading research organizations. Research will be continued.

Original Press Release: