Quite honestly worring!!!
Consider the possible downsides the effects on rents /rates as your waters are now Salmon fisheries.
The probable rise in poaching incients with all the attendant problems that brings.
The likely effect on what are presently stable ecosystems.
The mighty Salmon seems to be the touchstone of the EA's 'success'in it's eyes at least.
Whilst it might provide some positive publicity for them it does not cover up the real facts that threaten the salmons long term chances of survival to wit, high seas drift netting, river netting stations, the explosion in the seal population,over exploitation of the seas by commercial interests,pollution in our rivers and in the marine environment.
I for one will be much more impressed when the salmon is given a fighting chance by dealing with these issues rather than by a publicity stunt.
Graham I am aware that I can be the tiniest touch cynical at times Its probably working in the NHS that does it!!
However I do find myself wondering what lies behind this initative.
My glass is always full when I am beside my beloved rivers and I want that for all those who will follow me which is why I am so passionate about protecting my sport where I can.
I reckon anything that improves any river has got to be a good thing. I don't salmon fish, but I might do if salmon fishing that gave me a realistic chance of catching them was available at a more realistic price.
Perhaps if salmon fishing was to become more popular there would be more of us to prevent the things happening that Alan mentions.
But let's not whinge at an initiative to improve a river (whatever the underlying motive) but fight to ensure the improvement is for the good of all.
I am wholly in favour of the improvement in the habitat of the rivers as this benefits all fish life. I also hope that the improvements that are planned wil involve the cessation of the use of synthetic pyrethroid sheep dips which wiped out the fly life further up the river Dove not that long ago.
I am cynical partly because the EA closed down the hatchery at Whitcherwell on the river Hodder on the grounds that stocking the rivers with salmon is an expensive waste of time and that in future the emphasis would be on habitat improvement. However for the majority of returning salmon spawning will be damn near impossible as the top end of the Hodder is blocked by Stocks reservoir
and many of the other tribuaries suffer from massive abstraction for drinking water...
And now it seems that stocking the Trent via the Dove and other streams is the way to go !!
Hatcheries are indeed terribly expensive and no way to maintain a stock. However to give the EA their due they are the only way to get things started where the whole stock has been wiped out, as on the Trent system. Once they are re-established, then all the work Alan mentions has to happen. I think this project has a realistic chance of success, unlike the Thames project which certainly is a mere publicity stunt, with little evidence of naturally spawned fish returning. My view of this is definately a glass half full.
Jon is right about the Thames project being a publicity stunt, and the Trent project may very well have a similar agenda, but my point is that if the end result is a river with a salmon run that hadn't previously got one, then that's something to be pleased about, surely.
Unfortunately, Graham, the fishing rights then become more valuable to the riparian owner, as game anglers generally seem to be from the wealthier sectors of society, and therefore more able to afford elevated rents - and so clubs and/or syndicates which currently rent (primarily coarse) fishing on these waters may find that they are subjected to sharp increases in rent from the owner. They may then lose the fishing because they cannot afford that increased rent.
I do appreciate that my comments do not apply to all riparian owners, nor indeed to all game anglers.
And don't think that I am against the EA initiative in this case - but the fact remains that people will be willing to pay more for salmon fishing, and the coarse angler may well lose out.