Ban on Norway’s River for Kayakers?
BANNING KAYAKING ON NORWAY´S RAUMA, DRIVA AND VEFSNA (By Mariann Saether)
In 2013 there is a partial restriction on kayaking in all three rivers. This ban also includes side rivers and upper stretches of rivers within the entire watersheds.
The ban is effectuated as of 2013 and is issued by the Food Department of Norway. It thus falls under Norwegian law: This means you will be fined if caught kayaking, no matter if you are Norwegian, Russian, Italian or any other nationality. The department has stated that there will be controls. They have also stated that if they do catch kayakers not following the restrictions, they WILL ban these rivers entirely from whitewater kayaking for many years to come.
Gyrodactus Salaris, the salmon parasite that is spreading through Norwegian watersheds, is the reason for the ban. It gets spread by kayakers, fishermen and everybody else who brings contaminated water in between the rivers.
To be allowed to kayak these rivers, you must carry proof of disinfection of kayaks and gear with you. There are different ways of organizing this:
1. You buy the disinfection tablets Virkon S that dissolves in water and then has to be applied to your gear and kayak after all kayaking in these infected rivers. These you can buy for cheap (even in Norway) at the Felleskjøpet stores (The farmer´s store) all over the country.
2. You use one of the disinfection stations that are normally situated at the gas station in the closest town to the infected river. They will give you a receipt for the disinfection. Some places this can be rather expensive though, so always ask the price BEFORE you go kayaking. If you are not willing to pay, and do not have Virkon S, then DO NOT KAYAK in these rivers.
The Norwegian Paddle Federation is working closely with the Food Department on how to handle the situation. As of today they are working on an easily distributed information and disinfection system for kayakers. If you want to stay updated on how this work is progressing, and the status of kayaking in these banned rivers, then go to the open group NPF – Teknisk Komitè Elv on Facebook.