To mark the occasion of its 60th Anniversary the Strengur Angling Club has donated 3 years of sponsorship to three very worthy local causes in Vopnafjordur. These donations will go to the Vopnafjordur Rescue Team, Football Team Junior Section and Ms Isold Vilhjálmsdóttir an Advanced Category Junior Ice Skater, who is aiming to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“We are delighted to support these very worthy local causes. We are committed to a long-term development and conservation project here in Vopnafjörður and as such are part of the community here. These donations reflect our commitment to the community and its wellbeing.”Gisli Asgeirsson, CEO of Strengur Angling
“Vopnafjörður Municipality welcomes support to the important work done by the SAR unit Vopni and all other support promoting growth and success of the Einherji football team, and other local athletes.”Mr Þór Steinarsson, Vopnafjordur Municipality Principle
These donations come at a time when Strengur is also undertaking one of the biggest salmon conservation projects ever. Funded by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the ground-breaking “Six Rivers Conservation Project” is committed to protecting the Atlantic Salmon in North East Iceland. Atlantic Salmon stocks are in decline all over Northern Europe. In many regions only 3-5% of the salmon return to breed in the rivers in which they were born, compared with 25% two decades ago.
“The Atlantic Salmon is under threat. Here in the North East we are taking a stand in the species defence. This is visionary work, both directly in support of the stock in the rivers here, and also with new research, whose results will hopefully help the stock globally.”Mr Jón Magnús Sigurðsson, Chairman, Hofsá River Association
Sir Jim has also launched an internationally significant research programme in support of this salmon conservation work in NE Iceland, aimed at reversing the terminal decline of the Atlantic Salmon throughout the Northern Hemisphere. With the help of Imperial College, London and the Icelandic Marine Freshwater and Research Institute (MFRI), the Team aim to find out why the species is in such terminal decline and what can be done to reverse it.
This “Six River Conservation Project” commenced in NE Iceland via the multi-million dollar acquisition of Strengur Angling Club and several river-side farms to build a unique self-funding conservation business, where all proceeds are reinvested into land/river/salmon conservation.
This high level of conservation activity involves extending spawning areas via new salmon ladders, increasing stocks by seeding fertilised eggs from fish native to the rivers, large scale tree & vegetation planting, combined with building new river infrastructure and high class fishing lodges; all of which employ highly skilled local labour and scientific experts.
Vital to the success of the project is that traditional farming methods are also sustained. Farmers are therefore supported to remain on the land, via peppercorn land rents, with the aim of maintaining the fragile equilibrium between nature and traditional land use.
By way of this project, NE Iceland will become a global centre of excellence for salmon conservation, with the findings from this research and applied conservation initiatives being networked across the world-wide Science and Conservation communities to help sustain the salmon population in Iceland and recover those depleted in the UK, US, Canada and Scandinavia.
“Atlantic Salmon population has fallen to one-quarter of its 1970’s level. Most species with this level of decline would be categorised as endangered. This is an internationally important research and conservation program which in combination has never been undertaken before on this scale. With the highest level of science being applied here and significance to nature conservation in general, we hope the Governments of the countries concerned will also support the project.”Dr Peter Williams, INEOS Group Technology Director
Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been a long-term advocate for the Atlantic salmon and knows that success here will provide learnings that can be used across the World. He says, “I am determined to do everything I can to help protect this magnificent fish which is getting perilously close to extinction. I believe that the Six Rivers Conservation Project and the Imperial College / MFRI research will help salmon thrive in these waters, not just in the short term but for generations to come”.