Vincent Cavalier / SR
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Christer Borg, president of Älvräddarna. Credit: Vincent Cavalier / SR
Vincent Cavalier / SR
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The Swedish sports fishing exhibition in Stockholm. Credit: Vincent Cavalier / SR

Conservationist: fishermen should care about Swedish hydropower

"Hydropower plants as they are made in Sweden, they are not good"
4:02 min

Clear, trout-swollen brooks and stark pine forests might seem to make Sweden an attractive destination for sport fishermen. But don't forget scores of fish-mincing hydropower turbines, one environmentalist wants to tell anglers.

Christer Borg, president of Älvräddarna (the River Savers' Association), says that of Sweden's 2,100 hydropower plants only two or three have well-functioning channels that help fish avoid being ground up in hydro-power turbines. Borg says hydropower plant owners should pay for proper ecological mitigation.

"We [Sweden] have signed the Rio Convention," Borg told Radio Sweden on Friday. "If you use the nature or ecosystem to earn money, the same guy, the same company has to also pay for the mitigation."

Borg is giving lectures at a sports fishing exhibition being held in Stockholm this weekend. With a variety of commercial tackle exhibitors, appearances by fishing legends, and demonstrations on casting techniques it might seem an unusual place to preach local environmentalism.

But Borg is sharing the stage with a representative from a sport fishing organization, and he said anglers shouldn't like to see mangled fish in the country's waterways.

"Where I live we have one of Sweden's biggest rivers, Ångermanälven. In the main stream it's 22 big hydropower plants. So for me I actually feel bad to go down and look at it," he said.

Sweden gets more than 40 percent of its electricity from hydropower dams, party of why the country can boast such low domestic greenhouse gas emissions for a wealthy Western country. But while Borg acknowledged the importance of climate goals, he said it shouldn't mean the country neglects preserving its biodiversity.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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