Victory with a capital V

We made mention of Össur Skarphéðinsson’s campaigns for the marvellous Lake Thingvellir trout several times before, but what follows is pure heroism. Last week the Icelandic Parliament rose for the summer recess. At its last meeting one of the very last bills  to be accepted was his proposal that Parliament directs the government to ensure that the National Power Company constructs a fishway through the dam in Efra-Sog. Such passage aims at enabling the trout from Thingvallavatn to re-habit their old haunts in the river (their main spawning grounds before the dam was built), therewith to ensure the well-being of the stock for future generations. It took, as he said, careful planning and precise timing, and undoubtedly some powerplay, but his bill was accepted unanimously!

In 1996 Össur, being a ‘trout man’ and a writer as well, wrote and published a book about the Thingvellir trout that in later years became a “cult” book among responsible anglers. It really was a long obituary in the honour and memory of the trout, land-locked since the iceage, as the population then was in a terrible shape, and close  to extinction. In that respect he confessed that he had not thought this breakthrough could have been achieved ever, especially not at this point in time. It should not be too hard to understand that this victory, being a culmination of more than twenty years of labouring and campaigning, for him was a very personal and touching one.

The next line of campaign on his behalf will be to get the relevant authorities to add gravel to the old spawning grounds in the river, and outside its mouth. According to latest research the trout, to some extent, is spawning there again in small numbers. Gravel should also be added in some places in Öxará, which currently is the most important spawning site. Also Össur is pressing the relevant Minister to use an emergency clause in the nature conservation laws. By doing so the same, uniform rules can be introduced for angling in the entire lake, as were enforced for the part that belongs to the National Park earlier this year (see our blog: Congratulations to all involved!!). If it is up to Össur (and it is!) this epic will be continued.

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Photo: Kindred spirits meet (Reykjavik, 2013)