Eggs planted in minus 10 degrees

Press Release, November 18th, 2019

The largest ever North Atlantic Salmon conservation program rolled out its next stage; egg planting project in North East Iceland in minus 10°C.

  • Around one million eggs from native fish will be seeded opening up new habitat and food resources to improve growth and survival rates.
  • Dedication by the MFRI (Hafrannsóknastofnun) and Strengur Angling Club in difficult conditions sees one of the largest egg planting projects get under way on time before winter.

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The largest ever North Atlantic egg-planting scheme in North East Iceland has just rolled out its next stage in -10°C on the Selma River. Egg-planting schemes have been launched this autumn across the rivers with the help and expert guidance of the MFRI (Hafrannsóknastofnun). Planting took place from late October until early November.

The Strengur conservation programme will build to seed around one million eggs from native fish each year in the higher reaches of rivers that the salmon have been unable to reach in the past. The programme will open up new habitat and food resources to improve growth and survival rates in the critical early stages of the life cycle. In this phase ca. 200 thousand eggs were planted.

Extending the spawning areas and nursery grounds through the construction of new salmon ladders is also progressing as an important part of long-term plans to help Iceland’s salmon thrive. These are moving forward with the help of investment from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Strengur. The Miðfjarðará ladder was completed and opened last year and the salmon have already colonised the newly extended upper parts of the river, which adds 4.5 kms of new habitat for the young fish.

“Teams from MFRI and Selá have shown real dedication to salmon conservation. Working in -10 degrees centigrade to start the programme that will build to seed around 1 million eggs each year. This work is so important to help extend the spawning grounds of North Atlantic Salmon in North East Iceland, which is part of our wider conservation programme across the region. Working closely with the farmers and the local communities, we can build something sustainable and environmentally sound, that is a benefit to the local ecology and community, as well as maintaining this area as a world class fishing destination.”

Gisli Ásgeirsson, CEO, Strengur Angling Club

In this round, eggs were planted in Kverká, Hvammsá, Miðfjarðará, Vesturdalsá and Selá. In addition, genetic and scale samples were gathered from the parent fish, that were then released. These areas will be revisited next summer after the eggs have hatched and the results measured. In addition to direct contribution from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, all profits from Strengur are now being re-invested back into salmon conservation in North East Iceland. These conservation projects will continue to protect these pristine rivers, extending the spawning grounds, working with the farmers and communities to protect the local habitat.