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Old 22nd August 2011, 10:00
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Default Norway poisons river Vefsna to eradicate killer parasite Gyrodactylus salaris

Norway's largest toxic treatment of the salmon parasite Gyrodactylus salaris begins.

Reported here:
Tidenes største giftbehandling - Nordland - NRK Nyheter {Norwegian}

Google translation:

The first drops of plant poison rotenone is pumped into the river Fusta. Soon after, salmon and sea trout are fighting their last fight. Vefsna operations are fully underway. And even for the biggest advocates of rotenone treatment it is not a pleasant sight.

- No, there is a twofold side to it. We are pleased that after 30 years it is finally underway. But it's also sad to see the fish struggling for life. Fusta is my own river. So this is no hassle. And had there been another way out we had chosen it, says Thomas Bjørnes, project manager for the Vefsna project.

A bad time
Fusta is one of the largest tributaries to Vefsna treated with herbicide to kill the parasite Gyrodactylus salaris.

- This is the difficult time. But this is what it takes for it to be as it should be. The salmon that are now dying is the unfortunate that we could not take care of. We have already moved thousands of salmon, said division head of the National Veterinary Institute, Ketil Skaar.

Rotenone Treatment, well-spent money
Since 1978, when the river and tributaries were infected, the parasite has wiped out salmon stocks in Vefsna and its tributaries. A long struggle to initiate treatment was over when the government granted money from the national budget. NOK 156 million over three years to be used to make the rivers of the Vefsna region free of Gyrodactylus salaris.

Environment Minister Erik Solheim:
- This is very well spent money. Gyro is a deadly threat and must be fought by all means, says Environment Minister Erik Solheim.
- We see how the salmon have recovered in other parts of Norway. Now we hope to address another issue about the Tana River and problems with Finland. And then the Norwegian salmon rivers again become the paradise they have been far back in time.

The operation taking place these days is repeated next year. Then three additional lakes where trout are infected with the parasite will be treated. The goal is that all rivers in the Vefsna region will be reported healthy in 2017.
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