“Salmon stocks are reaching crisis point” says UK Environmental Agency

An Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) jumps out of the water at the Shrewsbury Weir on the River Severn in an attempt to move upstream to spawn. Shropshire, England.

Wild Atlantic salmon stocks are reaching a crisis point the Environment Agency (EA) said on Monday, July 25, as the latest stock assessment report estimates they are at their lowest levels on record.

UK rivers are traditional breeding grounds for Atlantic salmon and are classed as an iconic species in our rivers, however, many factors are impacting their numbers at freshwater and marine sites.

In particular, climate change is leading to rising sea and river temperatures and overfishing is impacting salmon stocks globally.

Water quality in rivers and estuaries can also affect the fish lifecycle as well as barriers stopping salmon from travelling upstream.

Through the Salmon Five Point Approach action is being taken by the Environment Agency and its partners to remove barriers to migration with 19 fish passes improved in the last year.

Work is also taking place to improve water quality and reduce the exploitation of salmon by both net and rod fisheries.

Kevin Austin, Deputy Director for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment for the Environment Agency, said: “Today’s assessment for England is of great concern and without urgent action, Wild Atlantic Salmon could be lost from our rivers in our lifetimes.”

“We have seen some real successes through our work with partners, particularly on the river Don and Tyne, but more much progress is needed.”

“As the climate emergency becomes more acute, we need coordinated action between governments, partners and industry to enable stocks to stabilise and recover to sustainable levels.”

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.