SEVERN SALMON IN DECLINE – OR ARE THEY?
Is this food for thought!
The main reference point that the Environment Agency England & Wales has to evaluate Salmon fish stocks within the Severn catchment is your annual returns for Salmon caught. The simple lack of sending in your annual returns can configure, lack of catch relating to lack of Salmon stock.
I for one do not subscribe to present day levels as showing a deficiency. I say present day levels, I am not referring to the 1960’s, and the last fifteen years would be more akin to my thoughts. Catch ratios seem to be set on a good average each year. My gauge on this is based upon the Weir at Shrewsbury. In a broader aspect many fish are seen to rise on many of our waters and clearly hotspots, however unfished and in danger of giving a false impression. If the Weir for sake of argument produces 25 Salmon in the season and waters other than the Weir were fished is it plausible to imagine this figure could double. Thus the reported catch ratio would double and thus remove the Severn from “At Risk”.
That said, what is the ratio of E/A Salmon returns sent in pro-rata to licences issued? If we say 50% of Game licence holders fill in returns, again we see a false benchmark from which the E/A have to take account of.
My opinion is that all and any Club, Federation, Association, institution related to standard acknowledged Salmon waters should register with the E/A. Of these entities the Bailiff reports catches in his / her remit all and any catches to his committee Secretary and these figures be submitted annually to the E/A. Unlike the game angler reporting or not reporting his catch ratio. Club, Federation, Association, institution has an avid interest in investing such information for the benefit of itself, encouraging permit sales to the individual waters.
The spin-off would be a more accurate relationship of catch ratio pro-rata to catchment stock prospects. Thus maybe removing waters from an “At Risk” registration, net result is that less legislation or rule changes may be required. Catch up with our brothers in arms under Salmon TAB above………………………