Honoring the Legacy of Orri Vigfússon (Chairman of the NASF)
The Atlantic Wild salmon world, the free-flowing rivers community, the Nature’s conservation and fishermen movements are mourning Orri Vigfusson, who died on Sunday 2, 2017. Orri Vigfusson, a man from Iceland, a visionary environmentalist from a cold and green country has played, for the last 40 years, a major role in global wild salmon conservation, a tough and complicated issue. Salmons, as we know it, are emblems of the wild, symbols of sound and healthy Northern rivers and hydrosystems, reflections of former bounteous oceans. Their populations are in too many place dwindling due to human interferences. Dams, pollutions, overfishing, in Oceans as well as in freshwater, rivers channelization, climate change have taken a huge toll on the various Atlantic populations as well as on other migratory fish populations.With an indomitable energy, a strong will, a peculiar hability to create innovative solutions, to go beyond administrative and State restrictions, with a rare openness of mind, Orri has managed to save numerous stocks. Orri has helped, which has not been a simple task, and which has not been up to now sufficiently recognized in some circles, official and non official, to raise tens of millions of dollars to buy back professional fishing rights, in Greenland, the Faroes Islands, Ireland, other countries, helping thus to reduce the pressure on the wild stock.
Orri, who has nevertheless gained an international recognition (he has been designaaed by Time as one of the most 100 influential personnalities in 2002, he received the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2007) has done that with an extremely great respect of the rights of the professional fishermen, trying to replace their salmon revenues with other fishing incomes, a highly complicated task. He has thus gained the deep respect from a community which is threatened by its sometimes non adapted practices, but more often by an impoverishment of the coastal and high seas habitats. A man of dialogue, of respect, Orri has always supported the work of ERN in favour of rivers constinuity restoration. He had helped to raise awareness, in the campaign launched by WWF, ERN, Aidsa, FNE, NASF-France and his friend Marc Adrien Marcellier, many other organizations, to get rid of the Poutès dam, on the upper Allier. He had devoted time and competence to help our country to dismantle the two large Vezins and la Roche qui Boit dams on the Selune, in Normandy, unduly postponed in the recent years. NASF Germany was also active in the “Salmoncomeback” campaign on the Rhine basin.
ERN-SOS Loire Vivante, other NGO’s are very gratefull to the astounding dedication of Orri Vigfusson in favour of Salmon conservation. His living spirit, his simplicity, his humour will stay for a very, very long time in our minds and hearts.
Hail to Orri Vigfusson.