Finland’s remaining indigenous wild salmon stocks are limited to two rivers that drain into the Arctic Ocean and two rivers that drain into the Baltic Sea. In addition to wild salmon, the Baltic Sea has been stocked with hatchery-reared salmon. Almost all of Finland’s landlocked salmon are hatchery-reared offspring of the critically endangered landlocked salmon stock of Lake Saimaa.

Keeping wild salmon stocks viable is vital for maintaining the abundance of salmon and salmon fishing.  Salmon was overfished in the Baltic Sea in previous decades, which caused wild stocks to become endangered. The stocks have recovered quickly with more restrained fishing. The main challenge in terms of landlocked salmon is to restore natural reproduction despite the man-made migration obstacles created to in rivers, which has led to the loss of spawning grounds. Man-made structures also pose challenges for the restoration of salmon in the Baltic Sea’s former salmon rivers.

Luke’s salmon studies focus on evaluating the status of salmon stocks and factors that affect them, as well as finding new ways to manage and restore salmon and promote sustainable fishing. Salmon research is networked and it often requires collaboration between different disciplines. This is the best way to serve the customers of salmon research, which include, among others, Finnish and EU-level fisheries and environmental authorities, fisheries and environmental organisations, fishermen, and entrepreneurs in angling tourism.

Picture on top of the page: Panu Orell/Luke

See also: The incredible recovery of salmon populations in the northern Baltic Sea, Atso Romakkaniemi (Luke)