The alarm is sounding in Lapland: pink salmon practically supplanted the local Atlantic salmon

Pink salmon. – a delicacy in any Russian supermarket and a horror for the Lappish nature. 2021 will go down in history as there is more alien species from the salmon family in the waters of the Teno River, which flows along the border of Finland and Norway, than the native Atlantic salmon for these places.

– This summer, the number of pink salmon has increased since 2019 years almost ten times, that is, this is a real boom. Although we do not have exact numbers, Teno has definitely already turned into a river of pink salmon. There is much more of it than our original Atlantic salmon, says researcher at the Center for Natural Resources Panu Orell .

This year, about 70 thousand salmon came to spawn in the Teno River, of which almost 50 thousand are alien species.

There are two main reasons for this phenomenon. The first is the warming of water in northern rivers, and higher temperatures are better suited to pink salmon. The second is a program for the cultivation of pink salmon in the northern waters of Russia, from where the pink salmon population comes across the Arctic Ocean to the Finnish rivers. For Lapland, this could turn into a real ecological catastrophe.

– If the population grows exponentially, then we will get the same figures as in the traditional habitats of pink salmon. Hundreds of thousands and even millions of individuals can spawn in a river of the Teno scale. And this will have implications for the entire ecosystem of the Teno River Basin, Orell warns.

Pink salmon lives for two years, and dies after spawning. Dead fish can be spotted on the banks of the Teno River with the naked eye.

In Norway, they tried to reduce the number of pink salmon by catching it with nets, but this did not bring noticeable results.

Both scientists and local residents are sure that pink salmon has been registered in the rivers of Lapland for a long time.