Each year, Greenlandic fishermen harvest Atlantic salmon from their coastal waters. These salmon originate from different individual rivers in North America, continental Europe, Iceland, and Greenland. Many of the salmon populations from these rivers have experienced large declines and some are now facing extinction.
NASCO organizes an annual sampling program in which scientists from Europe, North America and Greenland measure and take samples from the salmon harvested.
This year, because of restrictions due to Covid-19, the normal Sampling Program has been cancelled and a Contingency Sampling Program will be implemented. The plan consists of three aspects:
1. Wildlife Officers: Two sampling kits (capacity for 200 samples per kit) will be provided for the Wildlife Officers based out of Sisimiut and Nuuk to collect samples as they are able.
2. Greenland Institute of Nature Resources (GINR): Two sampling kits (capacity for 200 samples per kit) will be provide to the GINR. One kit will be available for GINR staff to coordinate with the Nuuk market staff to collect samples. One kit will be available to GINR staff if they are in other communities taking samples from other species and can locate some salmon.
3. Citizen Science: 216 sampling kits (capacity for 5 or 10 samples per kit for a maximum of ~1600 samples) will be provided to the Municipal Offices in Sisimiut, Maniitsoq, Nuuk, Qaqortoq and Tasiilaq (in East Greenland). When fishers pick up their salmon fishing licenses, the administrator will ask them if they would like to participate in the sampling program by sampling their harvest. The program is strictly voluntary and there are enough kits for approximately one half of the license holders in these communities.
The data produced by this sampling programme provide critical inputs to the stock assessment completed by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) North Atlantic Salmon Working Group annually. Their reports can be found on the NASCO website.