On the forthcoming revision of the
Baltic Salmon Action Plan
The European Anglers Alliance, representing 11 European nations and over 3 million anglers, held its 13th General Assembly in Greenwich, United Kingdom, and discussed the forthcoming revision of the Baltic Salmon Action Plan.
Despite efforts to restore wild Baltic Salmon - with some minor improvement - overall the stock remains in a poor condition for various reasons. These include:
Therefore, the EAA urges the Commission and Member States, to take a precautionary approach to the future management of this important species by adopting the following principles:
- Continued mortality in freshwater caused by the M74 syndrome
- Unregulated fishing in the river estuaries
- Mixed stock fishing by commercial fishing vessels in the Baltic Sea
- Increased post smolt mortality from unknown factors - a more recent but very serious threat.
- All wild salmon should be allowed to return to their natal rivers.
Salmon in rivers create jobs and have a high positive economic impact on all river interests. More salmon is a prerequisite for seizing more of the huge growth potential –sustainable growth- to the benefit of local communities and to secure engagement in much needed river restoration projects.
- The commercial fishing in the Baltic Sea on mixed salmon stocks (wild vs. reared) should be prohibited.
The wild salmon should be preserved primarily for conservation reasons, but with the added socio-economic benefit for recreational and tourism angling in rivers.
- The Commission should take into account the very large difference in socioeconomic output versus the biological impact from various kinds of salmon fisheries.
Commercial fisheries still captures around 97% of the total catches of salmon around the 2 Baltic Sea. The value of salmon in recreational angling fisheries amounts to several hundred Euros/kg, whereas the corresponding figure for commercial fishing is very much lower. More detailed statistical material is needed in order to describe the total catches in relation to the economic turnover from commercial as well as from recreational fisheries to improve the management of the salmon in the Baltic Sea.
- Better catch data on commercial and recreational fishing is needed, and should make a distinction between salmon caught in marine, estuaries and inland waters (rivers).
- The BS RAC recommendation of 1st March on a salmon management plan for the Baltic Sea runs counter to the best use of the salmon resource for its socioeconomic impact, and to common sense.
The BS RAC has proposed that wild Salmon production in the most important salmon rivers such as the River Torneå and Kalix should gradually increase to attain by year 2020 a level of 75 % of their estimated potential. At the same time, research from ICES reports indicates that these Rivers have already during the year 2005 produced more than 75 % of their potential production. In fact the BS RAC´s proposal, for most of the affected rivers, if implemented could cause a reduction in the salmon production during the period 2010 to 2020.
- EAA urges the Commission to take into account the various management guidelines agreed by NASCO for Atlantic salmon.
The EU is a signatory to the NASCO convention. NASCO guidelines on the precautionary approach to salmon management, including mixed stocked fisheries and socio-economic guidelines, represent a vast pool of knowledge, which should be taken into account during the revision of the Baltic Salmon Action Plan.
- EAA urges the Commission not to follow the RAC advice but to take fully into consideration the information provided in this resolution.
It may also be that the RAC advice is in violation of the habitats directive.
- EAA requests a meeting with the Commission, for an exchange of information and a discussion on how to best manage the Baltic Salmon.