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Marine Science



Saving the Atlantic salmon: World experts gather with locals in North East Iceland to discuss future conservation of the species.  Not-for-profit conservation organisation, Six Rivers Iceland, established by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Founder and Chairman of INEOS, is hosting its annual symposium on the global plight of the Atlantic salmon this May.

  • On 31 May, Six Rivers Iceland will present learnings and future plans for its conservation project in North-East Iceland.
  • Attendees include Marine and Freshwater Research Institute Iceland, the Atlantic Salmon Trust, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, along with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.
  •  The catchment scale conservation project is the theme of the event, with speakers touching on state of Icelandic Atlantic salmon and emerging threats to its survival.
  • Conservation strategies carried out by Six Rivers Iceland will help to inform the conservation of North Atlantic Salmon worldwide.
  • “There is a growing realisation that North Atlantic salmon cannot be studied in isolation – they require a healthy ecosystem to thrive. At this symposium, Six Rivers Iceland will present its plan for improving the habitat for the Atlantic salmon, while also hearing about emerging threats and ways we can help to reverse its (salmon) decline,” Dr Rasmus Lauridsen, Chief Scientist, Six Rivers Iceland.

Six Rivers Iceland, established by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Founder and Chairman of INEOS, is hosting its annual Salmon Symposium in May.

Now in its fourth year, this will be the first stakeholder symposium hosted by Six Rivers Iceland, showcasing the conservation efforts of Six Rivers Iceland through an international lens.

The symposium, which will be held in Vopnafjörður, Iceland, on Friday 31 May, will bring together local and national stakeholders alongside leading salmon experts from Iceland, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

The symposium will discuss the global decline in the North Atlantic salmon population, which has fallen to one-quarter of its 1970s level.  World experts will consider the ongoing catchment scale conservation efforts of Six Rivers Iceland in the light of this global decline and emerging threats – with a focus on the challenge to bring this species back from the edge of extinction.

Subjects covered include:

‘Does Icelandic salmon populations mirror the global decline?’, ‘Catchment scale conservation efforts at Six Rivers Iceland and in North West Scotland’, and ‘What is the Norwegian experience of emerging threats to Atlantic salmon, from aquaculture of Atlantic salmon and non-native pink salmon?’.

Leading expert speakers include:

The Marine and Freshwater Research Institute (MFRI), the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), The Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) alongside Six Rivers Iceland’s leading researchers.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Founder and Chairman of INEOS has been one of the highest profile supporters of North Atlantic salmon conservation in Iceland for many years and founded Six Rivers Iceland in 2019 to protect the species.

“The Atlantic salmon is a species under threat. By bringing together other like-minded, world-class conservation experts, we aim to share knowledge and resources to intervene in its decline before it’s too late. Six Rivers Iceland was established with a view that work would continue for years to come through ongoing collaboration – but more needs to be done,” says Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Founder and Chairman of INEOS.

Six Rivers Iceland is focused on preserving both the land and river ecosystems in North-East Iceland, helping the unique Atlantic salmon populations to thrive. The project is of an ambitious scale with substantial investment in both near-term conservation work in the field and in longer-term research to help protect one of the last safe havens for North Atlantic salmon.

Scientists working as part of the Six Rivers Iceland project are working to understand how to support and grow the population of North Atlantic salmon. The rivers selected in North-East Iceland are pristine and some of the simplest ecosystems where the species can thrive. Building scientific knowledge from these ecosystems in Iceland will help deliver strategies to reverse the overall decline. Learnings in Iceland will be shared and used across the world.

All work is carried out in close collaboration with local farmers, landowners, and communities.

Funding for this conservation and research has come from Sir Jim Ratcliffe directly, but the aim is to build a self-sustaining conservation model in which revenue from Six Rivers Iceland’s exclusive catch and release fishing experiences fund the on-going conservation work.

Mr Gisli Ásgeirsson, CEO of Six Rivers Iceland says:

“Six Rivers Iceland is a long-term project, designed to create a long-lasting legacy for the region and community. The work has started well but there is, of course, lots more to be done and so we hope governments will respond to the mounting pressure on this iconic species and get behind our endeavours.”

For more information about Six Rivers Iceland visit: http://thesixriversfoundation.com/iceland/