Record numbers of pink salmon, an invasive species, have been caught in Norwegian rivers this year, leaving some Icelandic fisherman worried for a potential wave of the invasive fish.
From 2017 to 2019, some 6 – 7,000 pink salmon have been caught in Norwegian rivers. However, this last year a record 200,000 were caught, 90% of which in the northern region of Finnmark.
The invasive species is known to originate from Russia, where fish farms have been established in the White Sea, off of the Kola peninsula. There are estimated to be around 1 million pink salmon off the coast of of Norway, with around 550 thousand wild salmon.
Records have also been recently been broken in Iceland, with some 339 pink salmon being caught in the summer of 2021. In the spring of 2022, juveniles were found in three rivers in the southwestern part of Iceland, including Botnsá in Hvalfjörður, Langá á Mýrum and the Grímsár-Hvítár confluence in Borgarfjörður.
Pink salmon have been a known presence in Icelandic rivers since the first one was caught in 1960. Pink salmon are now seen all throughout Northern Europe, from the British Isles to Norway. Conservationists are concerned that the species may disrupt native habitats and compete with native stocks for food.