Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., stocks are decreasing worldwide, and major efforts are underway to conserve populations that are threatened. In a recent effort to conserve the Norwegian salmon, the Norwegian government implemented in 2007 a scheme called National Atlantic Salmon Watercourses and Fjords (NASW), where 52 rivers were given special protection. Here, the scheme is described and it is evaluated if and to what extent the scheme has led to changes in management practice. After the implementation of the NASW scheme, fewer plans for development (e.g. hydropower plants, water abstraction, flood and erosion control) at the within-river level were accepted for NASW-rivers than for rivers not in the scheme. However, at the same time, there was a tendency for fewer plans overall being sanctioned in all types of rivers probably due to overall changes in management practices not related to the NASW scheme. In total, these changes could lead to increased protection of Norwegian Atlantic salmon populations.