Is the Salmon becoming a thing of the past?

Salmon eggs

I like ponds but I also love rivers so I was interested in this snippet from the south west of England on one of those slightly obscure websites where important environmental data are published but probably rarely read.

This one is about Salmon in the south-west of England. They say:

Salmon are a good indicator of the overall health of the freshwater environment‘.

They continue:

‘Salmon populations have declined in most rivers in the region, however this varies in each river catchment and with the weather patterns each year.  There was a slight improvement in numbers of returning fish and spawners in 2000 and 2001 and again in 2004, but the general trend has been downward since the late 1980s and the numbers in 2009 are estimated to be the lowest in the time series.’

Aside from the pedants point that the Salmon is obviously not an indicator of the condition of the whole freshwater environment – you don’t find them in ponds and small lakes that aren’t connected to the river network, so they can’t tell us about the condition of these habitat – aside from that, this is worrying stuff.

And it’s not just in the south-west this is happening either – see here.

I can’t help wondering how this squares with the Environment Agency’s recent report that there are ‘Record numbers of salmon and sea trout in iconic English rivers‘ – presumably they were just referring to iconic rivers, not all of them!


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