Salmon fisherman flees own river

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With his river closed for wild salmon fishing in Norway, because of parasite problems, Anders Fretheim felt forced to head for Wales, where the fishing is better.

“It’s quite absurd,” Fretheim, descendant of several generations of river owners, told newspaper Bergens Tidende this week.

Local officials have halted all salmon fishing in the Flåm River (Flåmselva) until 2014, in the hopes its salmon reserves will build up again. Fretheim’s forefathers started leasing out parts of the river to English lords as early as 1850, which helped launch the tourism industry in Flåm and along the Sognefjord.

Now Fretheim is traveling in the other direction, to fish himself in the British Isles, because of threats to the wild salmon in Norway. He blames expansion of the fish farming industry, which has given rise to the dreaded parasite known as “lakselus” (salmon lice) that’s killing off wild salmon.

Fretheim told Bergens Tidende he was “shocked” that the number of fish farms in the nearby Sognefjord is expanding again. “That will be the end of the wild salmon,” he predicted, adding that he doesn’t think the fish farming industry is capable of dealing with the parasite threat.

Other river owners and wild salmon advocates tend to agree. “We’re in despair over what’s happening,” said Bjørn Vike of the Aurland river owners’ association. “We want wild salmon in our rivers.”

Views and News staff