The River Näätämö (Neidenelva in Norwegian) is, alongside the Teno, one of the most important salmon rivers of both Finland and Norway as well as a popular recreational fishing destination. The Näätämö is one of the few rivers in Finland that have a wild salmon population, and no fish stocking is allowed.

The Näätämö salmon is heavily fished throughout its migratory route: along the coast of Norway, in the Neiden Fjord, and in the river itself both in Norway and Finland. Due to the international nature of the River Näätämö, salmon fishing is regulated by a bilateral fishing agreement between Finland and Norway.

The salmon catches of the River Näätämö vary considerably from one year to year, but no significant long-term increase or decrease has been observed. Nevertheless, the juvenile densities are estimated to be clearly below the river’s potential, especially on the Finnish side of the system. The main objective of the fisheries management is to sustain and increase the spawning population and juvenile production.

Research and monitoring

Monitoring surveys of the River Näätämö salmon population are carried out every year. The information produced by the Natural Resources Institute Finland and its Norwegian counterparts is used to evaluate the status of the different salmon populations and to plan fisheries management measures. The information is also used by, among others, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The most important monitoring surveys include: compiling fisheries and statistics, , estimating juvenile densities by electrofishing, determining the age and size of adult salmon as well as their origin (wild/farmed) from scale samples.

Picture on top of the page: Panu Orell/Luke