The River Tornio (Tornionjoki in Finnish, Torneälven in Swedish) on the border of Finland and Sweden in Lapland is Finland’s most important salmon river alongside the Teno, and one of the most important spawning grounds of Atlantic salmon in the world. One in three of the 1.5 million salmon that feed in the Baltic Sea are born in the River Tornio. Between 50,000 and 100,000 salmon spawn in the river each year.

Fishing of River Tornio salmon is regulated in the Baltic Sea by internationally agreed fishing quotas, and salmon fishing in the river is mutually managed by Finland and Sweden. The recovery of salmon from the brink of extinction in the 1980s is an excellent example of the benefits of abstaining from overfishing. The revived salmon stock of the River Tornio produces a catch of between 50,000 and 80,000 fish per year, the majority of which are still caught by the sea fisheries and between 10,000 and 20,000 are caught in the river itself.

Research and monitoring

Information produced by the Luke is used in salmon fisheries management in the Baltic Sea and the River Tornio in particular, but also to assess the environmental impacts of human activities in the river drainage area. The information is used by, among others, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the European Commission, and Finnish and Swedish fisheries authorities. The most important ways to monitor he salmon stock include: compiling fishing and catch statistics, counting salmon spawners by hydroacoustics, estimating the density of salmon juveniles in the river by electrofishing surveys, assessing the number of smolts by smolt trapping surveys, and determining the age structure of the salmon stock from survey and catch samples.

Picture on top of the page: Panu Orell