Big Whitefish rising

The big whitefish with dancer in its belly. Photo Kenneth Mikko

Dancer Kela is helped ashore by summer creatures. Photo Kenneth Mikko



KUKKOLANKOSKI. The whitefish – (siika (fi), sik (swe) – plays an important role in the lower part of the Torne Valley – as food, culture and entertainment. Since the Middle Ages, villagers on the eastern and western shore of the Torne River has caught the fish when it at the end of July passes Kukkolaforsen on its way up from the Gulf of Bothnia to spawn. Long bridges – pato [fi], pata [swe] – are built out in the rapids to take up the white fish with long hoop-nets from where it rests in the pits behind stones.

The whitefish is towed upstream. Photo Kenneth Mikko



The amount of whitefish has during the last years declined in an alarming degree, as well as its size. During this week a big cultural project is arranged to put focus on the problem and help whitefish to return to the Torne Valley. As a symbol, a huge whitefish has been constructed, and will find its way from Tornio upstreams to Ylitornio. Food, workshops, dance performances and celebrations follow the fish’s journey northwards.Today the fish was hauled up the big Kukkola rapids. In its belly, lay dancer Reijo Kela. He and the whitefish were welcomed with music, dance and festivities. On Friday, the big whitefish will reach its final destination Ylitornio.

Modern dance by Titta Court and Reijo Kela. Photo Kenneth Mikko

Info: Iso Siika


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