Salmon are native to the North Pacific, the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea and represent an important biological and economic resource in the northern hemisphere. While in the Pacific different salmon species exist (Oncorhynchus spp.), there is only one salmon species in the North Atlantic range - the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). What all these salmon species have in common is that they are ecologically very demanding migratory fish, which are in decline worldwide due to a multitude of different influencing variables.
The planned International Year of the Salmon (IYS) is an initiative aimed at raising public, political and scientific awareness of the problems associated with the decline in salmon stocks and at intensifying research into the rebuilding of salmon stocks. The IYS will be accompanied by events throughout the northern hemisphere and should lead to an intensive exchange related to the use and conservation of the world's wild salmon stocks. The aim is to develop new ideas for the conservation and management of salmon stocks in an ever faster changing world.
The motto of the IYS is "Salmon and People in a Changing World".
The two lead organizations and initiators of the IYS are the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) and the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC).
NASCO and NPAFC are currently working hard to organize the International Salmon Year (IYS), which is planned as a multi-year initiative (2018-2022) and will focus on 2019.
The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) is a Regional Fisheries Organization (RFO) that promotes the conservation, restoration, promotion and fisheries management of Atlantic salmon throughout the North Atlantic range based on scientific recommendations for this migratory species.
The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) have represented Germany in the EU delegation of NASCO since 2006. The BMEL and the BLE fulfil their national reporting obligations to NASCO and, within the framework of German NASCO membership report on the progress made in the reintroduction of salmon in Germany. Germany is also heavily involved in the EU NASCO delegation in order to influence the international decision-making processes on salmon management in the German sense.
Germany's commitment to salmon resettlement
Salmon were also widespread in Germany until the end of the 19th century. Unfortunately, all original German salmon stocks died out in the first half of the 20th century. For the people who lived on the banks of the rivers, salmon was an economically and culturally important fish for many centuries.
At the end of the 1970s, the first attempts to reintroduce salmon in Germany began on tributaries of the Lower Elbe. With the general improvement of water quality in many rivers, more and more initiatives followed this example. Today there are numerous salmon reintroduction projects in the catchment areas of the Rhine, Ems, Weser and Elbe rivers, most of which are carried out in cooperation with state authorities and fishery and angling associations.
The long-term goal of these efforts is to develop self-sustaining salmon populations that can also be used for fishing.
The reintroduction of extinct fish species is also a declared objective of the BMEL's National Technical Programme for the conservation and sustainable use of aquatic genetic resources.
Germany's contribution to the International Year of Salmon
The IYS aims to raise awareness of what people can do to better conserve and restore salmon and their diverse habitats in the context of increasing environmental change.
In Germany, the IYS has been officially announced on 12 October 2018 by Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Stübgen at the Salmon Counting Station at the Siegwehr in Buisdorf. It was called for active participation in the IYS. The International Year of the Salmon is an opportunity to inform, discuss and develop new activities to promote the return of salmon in Germany.