The Environment Agency and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) have recently published their annual report on the status of salmon stocks in England and Wales in 2007.
The main purpose of the report is to provide information on the status of salmon stocks to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), which is used, in turn, to provide advice to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO). This body is concerned with the conservation, enhancement and rational management of North Atlantic salmon.
- The declared salmon catch by nets and fixed engines in 2007 was 37.9 t (10,928 fish), a decrease of 12.6 t on 2006 (50.5 t; 13,578 fish), and around half the average catch for the last five years. Major factors in the reduction over recent years have been increased regulatory controls and the buy out of net licences, particularly in the north east coast drift net fishery in 2003.
- The provisional declared rod catch in 2007 (18,117 fish) was 93% of that in 2006 (19,509 fish); 9,802 rod-caught salmon (54% of the catch) were released.
- Since the introduction of the national measures to protect spring salmon in 1999, anglers have been releasing a greater proportion of all fish caught (54% in 2007), and of large salmon in particular.
- Adult counts and returning stock estimates over available time series show a recent increasing trend on some rivers (Tees, Fowey, Lune and Kent), no substantive change in others (Dee, Tamar, Test and Caldew), but a declining trend in others (Itchen, Frome and Thames).
- Spawning escapement was estimated to be above the conservation limit (CL) in 48% of rivers in England and Wales in 2007. However, compliance assessments taking trends into account, indicate only 10 rivers currently have a high probability (p >95%) of achieving their management objective in 2007 (i.e. exceeding the CL in 4 years out of 5, on average). The majority of salmon stocks continue to be in a depleted state.
- The cessation of legal coastal drift netting for salmon off Ireland should mean that up to 5,000 more grilse returned to English and Welsh homewaters in 2007, representing a 4% increase overall.
As well as providing a regional breakdown of catches, the report explains how Conservation Limits are derived and assessed and includes further information about Salmon Action Plans and the measures taken by the Environment Agency to support the conservation and improvement of stocks.
Final figures will be published in October 2008 in our Annual Fisheries Statistics report.
Download the reports here
More information can be obtained by telephoning the Environment Agency on 0370 8506506 or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org