Earlier this month the River Tweed Commission and Tweed Foundation hosted a visit from a study group of biologists, landowners and small business owners from the Torne River in northern Sweden.
Although 2,000 miles or more apart, the Torne and Tweed have much common ground; almost half of the Torne River’s length contains the border between Sweden and Finland and so, like the Tweed, it is a cross-border river and its fisheries are run by an international fisheries commission. Flowing for a distance of 324miles, the Torne River is almost 3½ times longer than the Tweed. It flows into the Gulf of Bothnia and is the largest river in Norrbotten, both by length and watershed area. The study tour came to learn more about the Tweed as a world-renowned Salmon fishing river, and also one that straddles two countries – although without one of the complications of the Torne where many places have two names: one Swedish, the other in Finnish!
The delegation was aware that a report on Wild Fisheries Management in Scotland, including the River Tweed had just been published and Nick Yonge (Chief Executive of the RTC and Foundation) asked one of the delegation leaders, Håkan Gyllbring (a Business Advisor for Hunting & Tourism on the Torne) why he wanted to visit the Tweed:
Håkan said, “The Torne River is a cross-border river between Sweden and Finland. It is a big river and like rivers all over the world has problems and issues. Fourteen years ago we first visited the River Tweed because we heard that a lot of interesting work was going on and we were very keen to come and hear more about this.
“What we have seen, and what we are missing in the Torne River area, is that we don’t have the whole picture of what is going on that the Tweed has. From our point of view, when we look at the Tweed we see a model for taking care of the whole river from conservation issues to fishing tourism and so on. We are very interested to look more closely at this and see what we can take to the Torne from the Tweed model of working.
“We think you have a great model for managing the River Tweed and the whole infrastructure around the river and we want to learn from this so that we can take something back to the Torne River and hopefully make a model for running it close to that of the Tweed.”
Nick asked if the group had learnt anything from their two days with the Tweed managers, and Håkan noted, ” Yes. All the time we are here we are learning lots. The Torne is in the north of Sweden in Swedish Lapland and even there – at the North Pole – everyone knows of the Tweed and of its reputation as the most famous and best managed Salmon fishing river in the world!”