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English and Welsh Salmon Stocks ‘Crash’

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Official figures show the worst estimates of salmon stocks on record Official figures show the worst estimates of salmon stocks on record

Fisheries and conservation groups lobby UK Government as records reveal a huge crash in wild salmon stocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Angling Trust


Following official figures showing the worst estimates of salmon stocks on record a coalition of concerned angling, fisheries and conservation groups has written to UK Government Fisheries Minister George Eustice and to his counterpart, Edwina Hart in the Welsh Assembly Government, to demand urgent implementation of a five point action plan to halt the sharp decline in salmon stocks in England and Wales.


The Angling Trust, Angling Cymru, Afonydd Cymru, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Fish Legal, The Rivers Trust and Salmon & Trout Association have urged the Government to take the five remedial actions that are urgently needed to restore stocks of this iconic species to English and Welsh rivers and protect them for future generations.


The Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) Annual Assessment of Salmon Stocks and Fisheries in England and Wales in 2013 estimates that only 19 of the principal 64 salmon rivers in England and Wales reached their conservation targets; compared to 42 in 2011. This is the equal lowest number since conservation targets were introduced in 1993. Overall, the number of salmon estimated to be returning to England and Wales in the last two years was amongst the lowest on record.


The report does not expect a significant improvement in stock levels. Since the 1970s there has been a 40% decline in the number of salmon returning to our rivers each year, despite the much-publicised return of salmon to previously polluted rivers such as the Tyne and Mersey.


Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal said:

"These figures, coupled with reports from our members, are very worrying for the future of salmon and the angling sector which supports thousands of jobs. As the report makes clear, the decline in stocks is probably mostly due to reduced sea survival, but in that context the government must do everything possible around our coasts and in our rivers to minimise threats to salmon. The Environment Agency must work closely with organisations such as the Marine Management Organisation and the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities on an integrated approach to protect and restore migratory fish stocks."


Ivor Llewelyn, Atlantic Salmon Trust's Director (England & Wales), said:

"Environmental factors are a key reason why salmon stocks are not recovering on many of our rivers, and action to address these, within the wider framework of policies to conserve the environment, is essential. In addition, on rivers with declining stocks we need to ensure that as many salmon as possible survive to spawn by reducing the numbers of fish killed, both legally and illegally."


Paul Knight, Chief Executive of the Salmon & Trout Association, said:

"Many of the actions that we are advocating will not only benefit salmon. Reducing abstraction and agricultural pollution and restoring river habitats will all benefit the wider aquatic ecosystem, in which salmon play a key role, as well as a wide range of other species. They will also benefit the economy in a number or rural areas, bearing in mind the often substantial economic value of salmon fisheries."


Arlin Rickard, Chief Executive Officer of The Rivers Trust, said:

"While we are calling for more money to be spent on salmon conservation in general, however many of the key measures necessary are not in themselves costly. Delivery of habitat improvement schemes through greater use of third sector partnerships and better co-operation between the Environment Agency own departments will enable existing funding to be used more effectively. We also urgently need a joined up package of measures, including advice and grants, to help farmers improve farm practices to address the widespread problem of agricultural pollution."

 







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Comments (23 posted):

Cliff Hatton 2 on 02/08/2014 20:04:47
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When you've just swum 4,000 miles, dodging nets and predators - and anglers - the final insult to your raison detre must be the ever-expanding circus of conoeists occupying your reproduction-site. I'm not totally anti-canoe - they're non-polluting and rowed largely by those with 'green' credentials - but they really should be barred from the upper reaches of our salmon rivers. And anyway... beautiful 'wild' rivers shouldn't be subjected to the indignity of mass canoeing; a few, yes, but numbers are projected to increase massively in the next few years: something MUST be done.
bennygesserit on 02/08/2014 20:54:44
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Cliff join Song of the paddle canoeing forum and try explaining that , needs a lot of patience and expect some flak ( from every direction ) there are some paddlers campaigning for exactly what you say one of the difficulties appears to be that it may be unwise to mark Redds in case others seek to vandalise them.
geoffmaynard on 03/08/2014 00:18:34
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The laws are already in place to protect the upper rivers. What's missing is the will of the authorities to enforce those laws. How do we get these people to do their jobs instead of ducking and diving to avoid doing them? Who's Chris?
bennygesserit on 03/08/2014 04:36:24
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The laws are already in place to protect the upper rivers. What's missing is the will of the authorities to enforce those laws. How do we get these people to do their jobs instead of ducking and diving to avoid doing them? Who's Chris? I changed the name sorry Cliff. Do you think Redds disturbance by canoes is solely responsible Geoff ?
stu_the_blank on 03/08/2014 06:27:26
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Do you think Redds disturbance by canoes is solely responsible Geoff ? It can't be Benny, it just doesn't help. Drift netting off Ireland was a real problem to English/Welsh salmon runs, until it was stopped a few years ago, it will take an very long time to recover. Salmon stocks are cyclical, one good spawning season only equals one better run. The best illustustration of this is Pink Salmon on the Frazer. As a result of an accident when the railways were built the river was blocked as Pink Salmon were running. Decades later, Pinks only run in odd years. That accident wiped out even years. We need to protect our Salmon from egg to spawning, they are very vunerable. It can be done, the Wye and Usk Foundation have shown the way as far as the freshwater part of the story goes. Stu
geoffmaynard on 03/08/2014 08:47:10
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I often wondered about the bi-annual pink run. Thanks Stu, another question cleared up. Salmon are being shot by a hundred pellets rather than one bullet. Sea mortality, netting, sea-lice from salmon farms, habitat degradation etc. Some of these are more serious than others - but only those which get a political agenda are addressed. There is a lot of hype about the Wye & Usk Foundation. They have a good sales and PR team which can easily mislead people. Yes they undoubtably have done some good work over the years but there is a lot of criticism of their stance in recent years from Wye anglers who now consider them a business rather than a charity, feeding off the concern for the river. WUF were originally formed to help angling and salmon but their 'mission statement' has altered over the years to the point where they now are considered by many to be as much of a curse as a gift to anglers. Presumably due to financial grants (Splash Funding etc), they now actively encourage canoeing on areas of river where there is no PRN, and want to spread this activity throughout the country. They are also vocally opposed to any form of salmon hatchery for stocking (despite having run one themselves for some years when it was grant-funded) and insist that the way forward is through habitat enhancement, ignoring the fact that after spending around £15million over the years, it hasn't worked and the river is still in decline with salmon runs still in the gutter. Annual flooding destroys much of the work done and the excuse is always 'give it another 5 years'. Everyone is a bit tired of that now.
stu_the_blank on 03/08/2014 14:43:18
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the river is still in decline with salmon runs still in the gutterHi Geoff, I thought that the Salmon runs had improved significantly on the Wye in particular. Is that not the case? Regards Stu
geoffmaynard on 03/08/2014 19:00:01
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That's what I mean about having a good PR team :) When a river goes from At Risk to Probably at Risk, the politicians call this success. To me the glass is still 7/8ths empty. So no. Compared to what the river is capable of producing it's bloody awful. A couple of years they managed to scrape 1000+ fish from it and lauded it from on high, articles titled 'How the Wye was Won' etc. This year we'll be lucky to get 7 or 800. It used to do thousands. All the data is here: RWGA Home "During the period 1966 to 1971 the annual rod catch had averaged 5413 fish with a peak of 7864 fish in 1967 of which 4842 were recorded as being over 15lb! 1971 saw 5094 fish..."
stu_the_blank on 03/08/2014 20:59:39
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Thanks Geoff, As you say, certainly good PR!:eek: Stu
Paul Boote on 03/08/2014 21:03:52
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Oh God, we're blaming outfits, orgs, won't stock the river (my fishery value is bombing) "university fisheries kids" and anybody but OURSELVES and our all-important, growth-growth-growth, drive anywhere-fly anywhere ("Now!" or "Like yesterday!"), do it all, "Bucket List", "Before You Die", unsustainable, insane but holy "Lifestyles". I've seen salmon turn the Wye, Severn and many a Welsh river black, white, silver and grey as they ran them, not that many years ago. WE blew it, chaps. Stop whining and change the system that caused the problem. Anyway, I'll leave you to it; I am not here for an argument.
rubio on 03/08/2014 21:05:22
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Isn't the whole salmon focus totally disproportionate anyway? I don't mean simply within fishing but as one small part of a very much bigger ecological problem.
geoffmaynard on 03/08/2014 21:30:45
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Oh God, we're blaming outfits, orgs, won't stock the river (my fishery value is bombing) "university fisheries kids" and anybody but OURSELVES and our all-important, growth-growth-growth, drive anywhere-fly anywhere ("Now!" or "Like yesterday!"), do it all, "Bucket List", "Before You Die", unsustainable, insane but holy "Lifestyles". I've seen salmon turn the Wye, Severn and many a Welsh river black, white, silver and grey as they ran them, not that many years ago. WE blew it, chaps. Stop whining and change the system that caused the problem. Anyway, I'll leave you to it; I am not here for an argument. Who's this 'we' Tonto? I've only been salmon fishing for about two years ;) But changing the system is exactly what is required, I agree.
Paul Boote on 03/08/2014 21:44:34
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We, Kemo Sabe, is US, you, me and the rest - the people who run with the nonsense that is fed to us by People (note the upper case 'P') who fish the fleshpots of Russia these days, having abandoned the Wye (and Scotland, for the most part, except the Helmsdale and Tweed, years ago): the "Smart Money".
bennygesserit on 03/08/2014 21:51:22
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We, Kemo Sabe, is US, you, me and the rest - the people who run with the nonsense that is fed to us by People (note the upper case 'P') who fish the fleshpots of Russia these days, having abandoned the Wye (and Scotland, for the most part, except the Helmsdale and Tweed, years ago): the "Smart Money". Surely the smart money pales compared to multi-nationals allowing the whole world to go to the shredder
Paul Boote on 03/08/2014 21:56:48
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One and the same, the Corporates and the "Smart Money", Benny. Takes one to know One, having gone to school with them. But then you possibly might not know.... I am not here. I'm gone ... too much of boat-rocking irritant ... bad for business and morale etc...
geoffmaynard on 04/08/2014 09:56:30
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bad for business and morale etc.. Good entertainment though. Without pot stirrers forums would be boring places indeed.
Paul Boote on 04/08/2014 10:34:25
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We - well, "I demand bigger and bigger and easier bangs for my huge buck, and will move on to the next fairground at the drop of an in-crowd whisper" salmon-fishers particularly - might all benefit from taking a gander at this little movie from Norway. [ame=http://vimeo.com/102466658]Playing an atlantic salmon - filming under water on Vimeo[/ame] There might be a lot more salmon about if we started treating the oceans a lot better (fewer sandeels for fertiliser, oily fish for pellets etc) and this Planet, for that matter. We can't stop the present global warming, it's partly natural, but we can do something about not contributing to it and turning salmon and sea-trout into fish only to be found in the Arctic Far North, which is what is happening at present.
Peter Jacobs on 04/08/2014 10:56:52
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Ever so slightly obliquely the music is by a Swedish singer, Jon Henrik Fjallgren performing a Sami "Joik" which is a sort of personal outpouring of emotion. When the Sami folk were "Christianized" joiking was outlawed as being un-christian. . . . . . . . not so today thankfully. My personal favorite is Marie Boine who is a Lappish lady who was born in Finnmark where the trout and salmon fishing is just brilliant. [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD15yirwhW4"]Mari Boine - I Come From The Other Side - YouTube[/ame] Incidentally, he won the Sweden's got Talent this year . . . . . . . . [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRfMIbBAJ1A[/ame]
bennygesserit on 04/08/2014 12:23:08
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One and the same, the Corporates and the "Smart Money", Benny. Takes one to know One, having gone to school with them. But then you possibly might not know.... I am not here. I'm gone ... too much of boat-rocking irritant ... bad for business and morale etc... So not exclusively a riverine problem , also an oceanic one ? Is it the Tyne where they seeded the river over and over with Salmon and saw a return , sort of , on their "investment" in terms of returning fish ? Or is it one of the natural cycles ( Mother nature is chaos and is never in balance ) or do you think some combination.
Titus on 04/08/2014 12:33:56
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Paul, although I do empathise with your current views I think they would carry far more weight if you were to acknowledge your own part in the commercialism of top end fishing. And could I also suggest that if your reply to this post is devoid of the usual vitriolic personal attack which usually accompanies your reply to anyone who dares to question you it will also carry more weight.
geoffmaynard on 04/08/2014 16:36:48
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So not exclusively a riverine problem , also an oceanic one ? Is it the Tyne where they seeded the river over and over with Salmon and saw a return , sort of , on their "investment" in terms of returning fish ? Or is it one of the natural cycles ( Mother nature is chaos and is never in balance ) or do you think some combination. All of the above Benny. Though there are now plenty of fish-politicians who will tell you the fish returned to the Tyne 'despite' the hatchery stocking. They are using this 'rational' to excuse their plan to close all the hatcheries - which purely by coincidence is a much cheaper option than running hatcheries. This is happening just as DNA and genetics are allowing us to begin to understand why many hatcheries have been unsuccessful in the past, and explain what needs to be done to ensure they are successful in the future. In this instance 'they' are the powers that be, EA, NRW, and backed by WUF etc who come armed with scientific 'fact/aka opinion' loaded to back up their plan, which is to do nothing other than improve habitat - much of which is destroyed with every spate but has the benefit of having financial grants thrown at it. Excellent book on the subject is Swimming against the Tide by Peter Gray, the man who ran the hatchery on the Tyne. Well titled too.
Paul Boote on 05/08/2014 09:49:39
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Could a game shoot add 10 per cent to your home's value? - Telegraph Luxury hunting and fishing estates hit record high price | UK news | The Guardian Ah, but what happens when the great majority of Anglers, let alone the great British public who find them very nice albeit destructively farmed in their supermarkets, couldn't give a monkey's? Less Knight Frank and the upmarket Ruperts, less Sacred Cow salmon, more inclusion all round. Might see some future for the fish, then.
geoffmaynard on 05/08/2014 19:07:23
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Paul, anyone in the last 20 years who bought fishing rights of the Wye for financial gain needs their head examined. The figures would never add up. Perhaps 50 years ago, but not these days.


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