On Tuesday 1 April, The King opened the Hertingforsen rapids and found out about new initiatives within food and tourism in Halland County.
The King arrived at Halmstad Airport and was welcomed by County Governor Lena Sommestad, who was working her first day as the new County Governor of Halland County.
The King arrived at Mostorp Farm near Halmstad, where he was welcomed by owner Peter von Braun and Chairman of the Municipal Executive Board Carl Fredrik Graf.
At the farm shop, one of the employees explained about the 50 or so different cured meats on sale. Everything is produced at the farm, and this is one of several new farm shops to have opened in the county – a sure sign of growth.
The King arrived at Hotell Falkenberg where he was welcomed by Chair of the Municipal Executive Board Mari-Louise Wernerson, who explained about the municipality's sustainability work and how the Herting Project – which The King was due to open later in the day – is part of this work. Falkenberg's vision is to grow for a sustainable future, and Ms Wernerson explained about the eco initiatives being carried out within four areas: energy, transport, accommodation and food.
Municipal ecologist Ingemar Alenäs then spoke about the background to the Herting Project, and its significance and implementation. He explained about salmon fishing in the River Ätran, which has been extremely important historically, and quoted former county fishing consultant Brodde Almer: "What's good for salmon is good for Halland." During the 19th century, salmon fishing was the biggest source of tax revenue in Halland. A British book by WM Wilkinson about salmon fishing called "Days in Falkenberg" was published in 1884, in which the excellent fishing in the River Ätran is specifically mentioned: "Such fishing can not be seen at any other river that I have heard of, neither in Norway nor Canada."
Docent and senior lecturer Olle Calles from Karlstad University then spoke about migratory fish species such as salmon, eel and sea lamprey, and the need for measures to protect their natural migratory routes. He also spoke about the opportunities for combining living rivers with migratory routes and hydroelectric power.
Mats Hebrand from Fiskevårdsteknik i Sverige AB then spoke about the implementation of the Herting Project. He described this as the most ambitious fishery conservation project ever to have been carried out in Sweden.
The morning concluded with Dutch marine ecologist Herman Wanningen explaining about the restoration of the Hertingforsen rapids from an international perspective. The problem of combining the need for hydroelectric power with the natural migratory routes of fish is experienced the world over, but a number of different exchange projects are being carried out to share knowledge.
A Halland lunch was served, with a starter of salmon tartare on rye bread with hot smoked juniper berry-marinated wild boar, a main course of confit of belly of pork with loin of pork, salsiccia sausage and crushed potatoes, and coffee and cake for dessert. Lunch was based on locally produced Falkenberg ingredients.
The King arrived at the Hertingforsen rapids.
The River Ätran runs through Falkenberg, and migratory routes for fish have passed through here since the ice age. Falkenberg's first power station was built at Herting (H1) in 1904, and in 1944 a new canal was built closer to the river where a second power station (H2) was built. Then, the only way fish could migrate to the sea was through the power station's turbines, and the mortality rate was high. The River Ätran's original route has been restored, and at least 11 cubic metres of water rush through every second. The fish can therefore always choose their natural migratory route. Falkenberg now has two rapids once again – the Garvarforsen rapids and the Hertingforsen rapids – and the fish have free migratory routes.
The King gave an opening speech, in which he said. "About a year ago, I carried out a county visit to Halland. During my tour of the county, I visited the River Ätran and Falkenberg. At the time, I was asked to come back to open the Hertingforsen rapids. A year has now passed, and I am delighted to be here today to declare the Hertingforsen rapids open. I hope that the restoration of the Hertingforsen rapids will encourage and inspire other power station owners to take action that benefits biological diversity and improves opportunities for good fishing."
The King released three young salmon to signify the opening of the Hertingforsen rapids.
The King was then given a tour of the planned visitor attraction by Kristjan Fannar, destination developer at Falkenberg Municipality, after which Chairman of Culture and Leisure Per Johansson presented a fishing licence to The King.