Jun 7, 2016

Salmon Five Point Approach - Restoring Salmon In England

At the salmon summit in November the Environment Agency announced that it was developing a Five Point Approach to conserving salmon in England, and since then it has been working with Defra and with fisheries and conservation NGOs.



The Approach is focused, as its name implies, on five key areas:

Improving marine survival

Further reducing exploitation by nets and rods

Removing barrier to upstream and downstream migration and enhancing habitat

Safeguarding sufficient flows in rivers

Maximising spawning success and juvenile survival by improving water quality.


In each of these areas the Environment Agency (EA), Defra and its partners have agreed a number of high level commitments, for delivery over the next five years. While the majority are for the EA to deliver, bodies such as the Angling Trust and the Rivers Trust have taken on responsibility for important commitments: the Angling Trust will be working with Anglers to reduce further the numbers of salmon killed by anglers, and the Rivers Trust will develop partnerships with local communities to improve habitats. Details of the Approach are in the attached document.


The announcement of another plan to protect salmon is bound to be met with cynicism by those who feel that they have seen all this before, but on this occasion there are grounds for believing that the cynics may be wrong. Certainly, the Approach represents the most comprehensive and realistic plan yet produced for improving salmon conservation. Most significantly, it recognises that the plight of salmon is not primarily a fisheries problem, to be addressed in the usual way by reducing the numbers of salmon killed. This, of course, can make a contribution, and the Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) warmly welcomes the commitment to review all net fisheries on the presumption that net fisheries should only exploit stocks with a harvestable surplus and that coastal mixed stock fisheries should be closed. But the real problems salmon face are at sea and as a result of habitat degradation, pollution and barriers to migration in freshwater. Actions to tackle these need to involve everyone responsible for safeguarding the aquatic environment, so it is encouraging that the commitments that the EA, and Defra, have undertaken embrace all parts of these organisations, including those responsible for the river abstractions that deplete flows and controlling pollution.


The plan also recognises that salmon conservation is not a task solely for the government and its agencies; equally, it is not something that can be left to fisheries owners and third sector organisations. Partnership working will play an essential role in the success of the Approach, and it is encouraging that it has been developed with the full participation of the main angling and fisheries conservation NGOs, and that they will play a full part in its implementation.


To implement the Approach the EA has set up a dedicated unit and a series of delivery teams; these are EA or Defra led, but all include NGO representatives. Ivor Llewelyn,will be on two of them, for improving marine survival and further reducing exploitation. This reflects the AST's long-standing focus on the problems salmon face at sea and ending mixed stock fisheries.


Although the Approach is targeted on salmon, it will also help sea trout, which are equally affected by barriers to migration, low flows and poor habitat. More widely, full implementation of these measures would substantially improve all aspects of our rivers and streams.


Download Salmon Five Point Approach - Restoring Salmon in England (PDF)
Solway Firth Partnership