Can it be true that rivers in Wales are at their healthiest for over a century?

It’s good to see the Environment Agency trying to protect an endangered fish – the Atlantic Salmon, as reported here.

But I couldn’t help noticing in the press release the suggestion that:

Wales’ rivers, including the River Severn, are at their healthiest for over a century‘.

Hold on I thought – I’d just read a report from the Environment Agency’s own fish biologists on what they call ‘the main catchment for salmon in West Area area’ of the Midlands region – which includes a large part of the R. Severn.

This is a stretch of river called the Afon Tanat, and here the Agency biologists have been studying fish carefully over the last 6 years. The results? They say that ‘salmon caught on electric fishing surveys have shown a gradual decrease at all sites’ and ‘Redd counts over the previous six years have shown a progressive decrease’ (redds are where salmon lay their eggs). (The report is here). And overall: ‘The main finding of this report is the continued perceived decline of salmon in the Afon Tanat catchment.’

And if you look back a bit further – over the last century – Salmon catches in the Severn have apparently declined pretty catastrophically.

So according to the Severn Rivers Trust there were 33,000 salmon caught on the Severn in 1911 – now its down to about 1500.

Overall, it’s a pretty massive drop in the number of salmon swimming up the river over the last 100 years.

How this tallies with the River Severn being at its healthiest for a century I’m not really sure.


One Response to “Can it be true that rivers in Wales are at their healthiest for over a century?”

  1. jonspond Says:

    here is a scientific piece on rivers –
    the thames was the worst and second best river!

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