Mörrum before it’s too late.

A passion for change

It is now expected that the declines of salmon and sea trout in the Mörrumsån will continue well into 2016. Even if the river managers and Karlshamn commune decide to finally implement counter measures to combat the ever increasing declines. We can hope that the neglect, inactivity and "mind set" will change. As the negativity for the concept of change will have dire consequences for the river well past the year 2016. Without change, the situation will only get worse while good people stand idly by and do nothing. All of which is preventable, if the fundamental changes take place now without further delay.

There are now, proactive people, NGO's and the EU commission of fisheries, who are now attempting to implement counter measures to prevent the declines to the Baltic salmon and sea trout from getting any worse. However, even when the Swedish board of fisheries (HAV) advocate legislation for 2012 with a stop to commercial fishing in some areas of the Baltic Sea.....which still has to be passed by the Swedish Government and still allows river estuary nets to continue fishing. However in essence, the board of fisheries states at the same time, that all of which, will take up to ten years to implement and see positive results.

Many experienced and concerned sport fishing personalities have proposed good and well structured proposals that would help the prevailing situation with the Mörrumsån. These recommendations and proposals are based on their experiences from other rivers that have had the same kind of problems, however, in these cases with successful results. Positive counter measures to the declines of salmon and sea trout to the river would be; compulsory catch and release of all salmon and sea trout until there is positive signs that both species are once again a sustainable resource. A complete stop to the estuary net fishing, as it now seems that these estuary fishermen have no concerns for the river whatsoever, and continue to still net up to 2000 salmon and sea trout per year

After many years of talk, rhetoric and inactivity.......two conferences, one in 2009 and 2011......nothing has been achieved. Other than the situation getting worse and Sveaskog refusing to take the initiative to implement positive and fundamental changes. Many, myself included, have finally come to terms, that the emotive issues we have for the river, have to be stripped out, to finally see the real picture as it is. And in that perspective, it does not look good at all.

No matter what takes place, the public sector company Sveaskog as a Swedish Government company is tasked with the mandate, to effectively manage the Governments commercial resources. But in the case of the Mörrumsån, and from a business prospective, the management of the fishery has failed in addressing the major outstanding issues in a timely and prudent manner. In the business sense, and viewed as "due diligence" the fishery is now being mismanaged, and because of gross neglect, Sveaskog have failed to recognize what it will take to turn around the fishery, and prevent a further corrosion of its brand name, declines of real values in the money spent fishing the river with no positive end in sight. The conclusion would be, that the fishery will decline into a terminal situation without a clear and workable strategy in-place. Many have stopped fishing the river, with those that were the real ambassadors for the river leaving and not returning...frustrated, disappointed and with negative thoughts as to the future of the fishery. This continues situation will ultimately have dire commercial effects on the local community at large, that rely on the revenues generated from the sport fishermen that fish the river.

There should be real value in all of this, but sadly that is not the case. The general consensus now, is that the only alternative is to change out the managers of the river at a corporate level. And based on what we have heard in the past..........half truths, disingenuous statements about good intention people who care for what is happening, and without a doubt, a total disregard for the customers. One can only come to the conclusion, that Sveaskog must now turn to another more competent company to set the "benchmarks" and manage the river more effectively than Sveaskog have done in the past.......... before it's too late.

Nigel Griffiths
MFA

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