The sad passing of our founder and chairman, Orri Vigfússon

Posted on 2nd July, by NASF in Latest News, Press release. 13 Comments

The sad passing of our founder and chairman, Orri Vigfússon

The North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) announces with great sadness, the passing of our founder and Chairman Mr. Orri Vigfússon.

Mr Vigfússon succumbed to lung cancer at Iceland’s national hospital in Reykjavík yesterday, July 1st 2017, only nine days short of his 75th birthday. Mr. Vigfússon has for 27 years, tirelessly fought for the survival and restoration of the wild Atlantic salmon through the North Atlantic Salmon Fund earning him the admiration and respect of environmentalists all over the world. He was recognised internationally for his vital conservation work and was awarded with numerous distinguished awards. He is survived by his wife Unnur Kristinsdóttir, 2 children and 3 granddaughters.

The funeral service will be held in Reykjavík at Hallgrímskirkja, July 10th at 13:00.



In appreciation

………………. (Icelandic) (Icelandic) (Icelandic) (Icelandic) (Swedish)  (Spanish)

I heard from Orri Vigfusson’s assistant on Sunday morning that Orri passed on Saturday, July 1st. Orri of course, was the founding Chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund and a long-time Director of ASF(US). Orri was undergoing both chemo and radiation therapy for his lung cancer when things took a turn for the worse. I had just talked to him last Thursday. He was steadfast and determined that he was going to get through his treatments and beat the lung cancer just as he had beat stomach cancer 25 years ago.

We have lost a great friend, colleague, Atlantic salmon champion, family man and gentleman.  Orri was a visionary who dedicated his life to conserving and restoring wild Atlantic salmon to abundance throughout their North Atlantic range. Together, NASF and ASF accomplished a great deal for the species, including the suspension of the Greenland commercial salmon fishery in 1993 and 1994 and during the period of 2002 to 2011. For his many contributions to wild Atlantic salmon conservation ASF awarded Orri the Lee Wulff Award in 2003.

Bill Taylor, President & CEO, Atlantic Salmon Federation

13 Responses to “The sad passing of our founder and chairman, Orri Vigfússon”

  1. Danny Bird says:

    My sincere condolences to the Vigfusson family in your loss off a wonderful man.
    Ori was a great friend of all who worked with him and there was no person any more dedicated to the survival of the Atlantic salmon.
    May he rest in peace and may his great work continue until his dream becomes a reality.

  2. Charles Rangeley-Wilson says:

    Orri was a hero and an inspiration.

  3. Rune Jensen, SalmonCamera says:

    Our deepest and sincere condolences to the family of Orri.
    We are standing sad, lost and empty for words by the loss of the greatest friend wild atlantic salmon could ever have. We can only hope that, if all salmonfriends gather their combined efforts, will be able to fill parts of the role Orri has left empty after his passing.
    Everytime we in the future see a leaping salmon, we will bow our heads in memory and respect of the great man, friend and bridgebuilder, Orri Vigfusson.
    Thank you Orri. We miss you

  4. Jon and Rose Ward-Allen says:

    Our sincere condolences to Orri’s family. It’s hard to believe that one man can achieve so much but we know it wasn’t without hard work and incredible persistence in the face of some extraordinary challenges. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his work in salmon conservation, and personally, we’ll miss his friendly support for all things salmon and conservation-related and will remember him also for his infectious enthusiasm, his kindness and his humour.

  5. Gerhard Schive says:

    So sad and hard to understand that Orri is no longer among us. My condolances to Kristin and the family.
    Gerhard Schive/

  6. Dr Stuart McLanghan says:

    I was saddened to learn of Orri’s passing, but it also a time to celebrate his life and all he did and represented for wild Atlantic salmon conservation. I enjoyed immensely our discussions. Sincere condolences to Orri’s family.

  7. Jesper Fohrmann says:

    A truly sad day for salmon anglers and Atlantic salmon – I have learned many things from Orri – The most dedicated conservationist I have ever heard of – Always putting the course before himself – Always ahead of all events in the world of salmon conservation – I will miss him and do the best I can to follow the guidelines he showed me

  8. Brian Harris says:

    What a privilege and joy it was to have known and worked with this wonderful and unique man. The world has lost a true champion but your legacy will live on and the fight will continue by the example you have set for all of us. Thank you Orri and God bless you.

  9. Der Atlantische Lachs e.V. says:

    Dear Orri,

    we have not only lost a visionary who showed what is possible with untiring dedication and effort; we have also lost a dear friend.

    Thank you very much for everything.

    Der Atlantische Lachs e.V.

  10. Jim Haughey says:

    How very sad I am at the passing of Orri, a good friend and a fine person.Working with the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (Northern Ireland) Orri broke the mould in the UK and Ireland in causing the buyout of some 180 salmon nets here in Northern Ireland. . He was a visionary who was able to inspire others by his hard work and personality. He was simply a force of nature.

  11. Orri was a special man and a pragmatist, tireless in his efforts to restore salmon stocks. I shall miss our conversations. He understood the various and sometimes competing interests surrounding salmon fishing better than anyone. His death is a great loss to our sport, an even greater loss to salmon conservation.

  12. Iain Hall says:

    If every angler and indeed netsmen in the world released just one salmon that they might otherwise kill to eat or heaven forbid sell, outside of existing catch and release policies, just think how many more salmon could carry their genes to the next generation and the size of the tribute to the astonishing dedication of one huge character

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