Prevent the spreading of the Gyrodactylus salaris salmon parasite in the North Lapland water system

May 27/2019

The rivers Teno and Näätämö emptying into the Arctic Ocean are among Finland’s most important salmon rivers, and their significance for salmon production is prominent even at an international level. River Teno is one of the world’s most important spawning rivers for the Atlantic salmon. It is important to prevent the spreading of the Gyrodactylus salaris salmon parasite in these waters.

Gyrodactylus salaris is a parasite living on the skin and fins of salmon juveniles (Salmo salar). The parasite is hazardous to the salmon populations migrating to the Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean and should it enter, for example, the River Teno or Näätämö, it would most likely collapse the salmon populations spawning in these rivers in just a few years. This has happened in Norway where dozens of salmon rivers have been poisoned in order to decimate the parasite. The most recent area where the parasite has spread is on the Kola Peninsula, at the branch of the River Tuuloma. The parasite appears in Finland as well, in the water systems draining into the Baltic Sea, but the water systems emptying into the Arctic Ocean have remained free of this parasite. The wild salmon in the catchment area of the Baltic Sea and the fish in Finnish fish farms are immune to this salmon parasite.

Protecting the water systems of North Lapland from the spreading of the parasite is very important

The protected area includes the water systems of the Rivers Teno, Näätämö, Paatsjoki, Tuuloma and Uutuanjoki. Transporting live fish or roe into the area or between the protected water systems is forbidden. Boats, fishing gear, diving equipment and other equipment which has come into contact with natural waters, must be dried, heated, frozen or disinfected in order to kill the parasite. Water sourced from nature or fish guts brought from another location may also not be allowed into the area’s water systems.

Read the brochure Protect the salmon (pdf)

For more information, please contact:
Control of fish diseases: Hanna Kuukka-Anttila, Senior Officer, tel. +358 40 351 3318, Animal Diseases and By-Products Section
Fish diseases: Anna Maria Eriksson-Kallio, Senior Researcher, tel. +358 50 439 2788, Wild and Aquatic Animal Pathology Section