Positive news for the Atlantic salmon in Iceland

Dear Nature Protector,

NASF, on behalf of the Against the Current campaign and our many partners, would like to thank all those who supported the struggle to protect wild salmon stocks by signing the petition challenging Iceland’s policy makers to define a strategy for sustainable salmon farming in harmony with nature.

Parliament recently passed new aquaculture legislation recognizing the harmful environmental impacts of open net pen salmon farming and instituting critical improvements in its regulation. The law provides for vastly increased oversight of farming operations and economic incentives for companies wishing to pursue production in closed systems. Most importantly, it created protections shielding scientists and their assessments from political pressure, making it even harder to overrule independent scientific advice when considering applications to expand farms or to open up fjords to farming altogether.

With this law, Parliament has finally acknowledged the validity of the many environmental concerns raised over open net pen salmon farming.  Nonetheless, we continue to believe that no matter how stringent the oversight, there will always be a very real danger of permanent damage to marine life posed by this type of farming. History has already given us a glimpse into the devastation that can be caused by the escapes of Norwegian farmed salmon on native stocks, of the disease and pollution caused by open net pens.

That is why we continue to believe that the only way to prevent disastrous environmental impacts is through closed containment farming in the sea or on land. Protecting nature is the only way to farm in harmony with nature, guaranteeing positive growth and a high quality product distinguishing Iceland from its much larger competitors.

The struggle to safeguard Icelandic nature and Iceland’s wild salmon population is far from over. In the coming months, regulatory agencies will be drafting rules that will form the backbone of the new law, and it is imperative that we remain vigilant and let policy makers know that we are watching. Through your support, we have created a community of those who believe that nature should be given the benefit of the doubt, and we will continue to draw on that support as this fight wages on.

Wild salmon must remain free to safely make their journey to sea and back without additional man-made hazards. Through global warming, increased predation, and fishing, salmon face enough dangers. We cannot allow yet another hazard, open net pens, to stand between them and survival.

Fridleifur E. Gudmundsson
On behalf of the board of NASF IS, we thank you.

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