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Status of wild Atlantic salmon in Norway 2020

Publisert 18.06.2020

Wild salmon still struggle, despite many mitigation efforts. Increased mortality due to salmon lice is an important reason. 

Foto: Bjørn Barlaup / NORCE.
Foto: Bjørn Barlaup / NORCE.

There are also improvements for wild salmon. Some threats are significantly reduced due to efficient mitigation measures, like impacts of acid rain, and the introduced parasite Gyrodactylus salaris. These threats caused loss of salmon in many rivers, but in most of these rivers, salmon is back and increasing. Overfishing is almost eliminated due to efficient fishing regulations. 

Despite important improvements, the abundance of wild salmon remains low. The number of salmon returning from the ocean is less than half of the level in the 1980s. Also in 2019, the number of spawners returning from the ocean was low. The decline is mainly seen in western and middle Norway. Negative impacts of salmon farming is an important reason. A general low sea survival has also contributed. As a consequence of reduced abundance of wild salmon, coastal fisheries and angling in rivers have been reduced or closed.

Escaped farmed salmon and salmon lice are the largest threats to the wild salmon. Salmon lice cause increased mortality in wild salmon in ever-larger parts of Norway. The number of populations regarded as endangered due to salmon lice has increased. 

Hydropower production and other habitat alterations are also threats to salmon. There is great potential for improving conditions for salmon in regulated rivers. Introduced pink salmon is an increasing threat, with few mitigation measures and limited knowledge on the impacts on native salmonids. Infections related to fish farming is also a major threat with few mitigation measures and poor knowledge

Summary of the report in English (PDF)

The 2019 annual report is published in Norwegian