Saving Iceland’s trout by bringing a halt to ‘catch & take’

Iceland’s seemingly abundance of trout and trout fisheries tends to invite anglers to take as many trout as they can. In an increasing number of rivers this ‘culture’ is leading to the depletion of entire trout populations. Concerned about the loss of biodiversity and of angling opportunities (recreational and commercial) currently investments are being made to reintroduce the trout, preferably the indigenous ones, if they are still to be found somewhere. The madness of it all is obvious as eradication could easily have been avoided. And still can!

Since long the large scale killing of trout has gotten on Helgi Gudbrandsson’s nerves. “I see anglers, Icelandic and foreigners, taking sometimes up to 50 trout of 2-6 kilo’s and more from the water per day. Some of these fish end up on the dish, but most go directly to the freezer to be forgotten with others in that same freezer. Come a new season, the entire freezer inventory is wasted to make room for new, fresh fish. Nowadays we have much more anglers than before. They are better skilled and equipped with the highest performance fishing gear. As a result more trout are taken, much more than nature can supply or cope with.”

Helgi: “This attitude towards our trout has to change, has to be changed. Most people agree but nobody takes the lead. River keepers fear selling less permits if they set a limit to the catch. Angling guides hardly ever dare tackle their clients on indecent behavior, scared of losing them. No fishermen wants to be called ‘a pussy’ when telling a fellow fisherman to care for what always has regarded upon as prey or protein. Even spouses are part of the conspiracy: what has a man been doing all day when he comes home without a fish?”

Helgi does dare to take the lead and will do so together with Continental Trout Conservation Fund. Being CTCF’s ‘man in Iceland’ Helgi set up several meetings with representatives and influentials from politics, science, watershed management, and tourism. Mid October René Beaumont and Tjong Khoe came over to Iceland and attended to them also. All agreed to work on raising the awareness needed for the wellbeing of the trout (and char!) of Iceland. To be continued.