Where do we go from here?

SOS

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Or what do you think we need to do to arrest and reverse the decline in Atlantic Salmon?
It will be a few months yet until we get the figures in for all the rivers,but from what i hear and read on most rivers it has been pretty grim,
Although there have been some mitigating circumstances,like the lockdown in Spring and the very low water in Summer,these situations would have had an effect at the time but as these eased you would think that the catches of stale fish would have made up some ground.
My local river the Aberdeenshire Don along with the Dee trust/board tagged 50 smolts in river and only 2 fish 4% made it to sea,ok it was a small sample but would the survival rate be bigger in a bigger sample?
The electro fishing surveys showed very few parr in the tribs surveyed, Which poses the question.
Is the decline due to the lack of smolts making it to sea? or is The lack of smolts down to the lack of fish making it back to spawn?.
The fish that are being caught look well fed and healthy,so is it a mostly an in river problem or is it something to do with the likes of the German super trawler boarded by greenpeace protesters this week?.
I think what ever the problem the use of hatcheries would go some way to lessen the problem on any river or tributary that is seeded with eggs or fry,even if it does mean loosing more to predation.
 

carma2

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I honestly believe that the back end run was netted in 2013 , probably by the Greenlanders and Faroese as they
threatened to do in 2010 .
In river problems cannot be the cause of such a dramatic loss of a whole run of fish.
 

wilbert

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Unfortunately salmon are not alone in dropping numbers. There just seems to be less wildlife everywhere and the only species that seem to be doing well are the bloody pests like crows, grey squirrels, rats and humans. Salmon have it doubly hard as they spend their life in 2 different environments and as much as we are doing to clean them up and "improve" them neither are particularly great. The ever increasing and out of control human population is affecting everything. Maybe corona virus has come too late to save the planet............
 

Lewiswearfisher

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Clubs across the board need to take some sort of action against FEB's. Sitting in shallow areas and glides chomping up all the fish. If they aint even making it to sea there is for sure nothing coming back
 

Roag Fisher

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Or what do you think we need to do to arrest and reverse the decline in Atlantic Salmon?
It will be a few months yet until we get the figures in for all the rivers,but from what i hear and read on most rivers it has been pretty grim,
Although there have been some mitigating circumstances,like the lockdown in Spring and the very low water in Summer,these situations would have had an effect at the time but as these eased you would think that the catches of stale fish would have made up some ground.
My local river the Aberdeenshire Don along with the Dee trust/board tagged 50 smolts in river and only 2 fish 4% made it to sea,ok it was a small sample but would the survival rate be bigger in a bigger sample?
The electro fishing surveys showed very few parr in the tribs surveyed, Which poses the question.
Is the decline due to the lack of smolts making it to sea? or is The lack of smolts down to the lack of fish making it back to spawn?.
The fish that are being caught look well fed and healthy,so is it a mostly an in river problem or is it something to do with the likes of the German super trawler boarded by greenpeace protesters this week?.
I think what ever the problem the use of hatcheries would go some way to lessen the problem on any river or tributary that is seeded with eggs or fry,even if it does mean loosing more to predation.
You must have been reading different reports from me. 2020 was a good year for returning salmon and even more so for returning grilse. The situation may appear different on rivers stricken by drought most of the season. I will be happy if 2021 is as good as 2020 with regard to numbers of returning fish.
 

CharlieM

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Or what do you think we need to do to arrest and reverse the decline in Atlantic Salmon?
It will be a few months yet until we get the figures in for all the rivers,but from what i hear and read on most rivers it has been pretty grim,
Although there have been some mitigating circumstances,like the lockdown in Spring and the very low water in Summer,these situations would have had an effect at the time but as these eased you would think that the catches of stale fish would have made up some ground.
My local river the Aberdeenshire Don along with the Dee trust/board tagged 50 smolts in river and only 2 fish 4% made it to sea,ok it was a small sample but would the survival rate be bigger in a bigger sample?
The electro fishing surveys showed very few parr in the tribs surveyed, Which poses the question.
Is the decline due to the lack of smolts making it to sea? or is The lack of smolts down to the lack of fish making it back to spawn?.
The fish that are being caught look well fed and healthy,so is it a mostly an in river problem or is it something to do with the likes of the German super trawler boarded by greenpeace protesters this week?.
I think what ever the problem the use of hatcheries would go some way to lessen the problem on any river or tributary that is seeded with eggs or fry,even if it does mean loosing more to predation.

Salmon are assailed on all fronts. In fact imho I think it a miracle that any survive at all given:
  1. High natural mortality rates in river as smolts (other fish/birds/pollution/abstraction) on way out; returning fish (from seals/poaching/illegal captures /pollution etc);
  2. Interception at sea (mega trawlers know the migration routes, ditto Greenlanders etc);
  3. Degradation of sea capacity to sustain large numbers; Sargasso sea depleted/ industrial processing of staples like sandeels as major source of salmon food/and worst of all, rising sea temperatures.
  4. Mortality in coastal areas (fish farming diseases & sealice out of control/seals again/drift nets in places)
  5. Huge reduction in salmon productive rivers on both sides of the Atlantic (dams/other river obstructions/pollution/loss of habitat of spawning areas) in what were formally massive producers of salmon - think R.Rhine in Europe, R. Trent in UK, R.Shannon in Ireland - all a bare shadow of what they were...and all the miriad smaller rivers that have been obliterated as salmon rivers.
I'm sure there are other factors on top of this toxic litany but I can't think of them!

Surely a veritable Mt.Everest of problems to deal with.

The root to all this is an unsustainable human population that has caused this through over-exploitation of a natural resource without heed to the consequences, but what's new? We never learn until its too late...
 

MCXFisher

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I honestly believe that the back end run was netted in 2013 , probably by the Greenlanders and Faroese as they
threatened to do in 2010 .
In river problems cannot be the cause of such a dramatic loss of a whole run of fish.

Oh yes they can! There are so many things that can happen in the upper reaches of a river, where it is smallest and most vulnerable, ranging from the micro-local (e.g. specific pollution, flooding, landslip) to the macro-global (e.g. warming). Any or all of those can be catastrophic for the run from a particular river. One careless farmer can kill more salmon in 20 minutes than all the FEBs in the catchment in a year.

The worrying macro-global issue is warming, over which we have no direct control. This is because the hatching of salmon eggs is a function of degree/days. The warmer the water, the sooner they hatch. However, the lifecycle of the invertebrates on which they depend as fry and parr is driven by daylight and sun angle, and starts in a relatively narrow time band. As a result, premature hatching can lead to huge losses through starvation. Moreover, there is growing evidence that warming trends are causing earlier smolting, leading to smaller weaker smolts going to sea with a lower probability of survival.

We can, however, continue to take effective action on the micro-local front, and there's a wide range of options. In most rivers egg-to-smolt mortality is in the range 97-98%. Good local actions can improve that figure towards 95%, which hugely increases the number of smolts going to sea, and hence improves the number of returning fish.

The historical evidence clearly shows that at sea survival has stayed in the range 4-8% for the past 70 years. The odd figures of 30% are very isolated cases and therefore statistical outliers. The impact of offshore netting of salmon in migration appears to be an overstated concern, and members of the Forum with detailed knowledge of the fishing industry have previously posted to explain why. Put simply, if you're driving a trawler than costs millions to buy and thousands per day to operate, you target giant schools of mackerel and haddock, not packets of 15-20 salmon that are at a different layer in the water.

The vast majority of fish caught and photographed on this Forum in 2020 have been in outstanding health, suggesting that over the past 2-3 years there hasn't been a problem of feeding at sea. This has been a welcome change after couple of periods in the last decade when scrawny grilse were a notable feature.

On the Forum we have frequently debated and generally agreed that in the short term - i.e. a few years - rod catches are a very poor analogue for population. After all, for all our professed skill and experience, we modestly know that catching a salmon is all about random events and factors. You can have plenty of salmon in a river, as we have this year on the Ure, but for whatever reason that only the salmon really know, they're wholly uninterested in our flies. For me, that's been the story of 2020. But the fact that I've caught 90% fewer salmon than in some previous years is not evidence of a 90% reduction in population.
 

SOS

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You must have been reading different reports from me. 2020 was a good year for returning salmon and even more so for returning grilse. The situation may appear different on rivers stricken by drought most of the season. I will be happy if 2021 is as good as 2020 with regard to numbers of returning fish.
If it was down to some rivers/areas being stricken by drought and sustained periods of low water that would certainly have an effect on catches,but we had a months worth of rain two weeks ago and good water height since,so you would expect that if there was a build up of fish in the lower reaches or out at sea they would have made an appearance by now.It is strange that some rivers have done well in todays standards while neighbouring rivers have been poor. Unless there is a massive increase in catches in the next two weeks my river the Don will have probably had its worst season ever,but it is not just the catches it is the lack of fish being seen that is concerning.
Having said that there were reports that a large number of fish headed for the upper river in November last year, but that should mean the survey counts should have been better.
 

carma2

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Oh yes they can! There are so many things that can happen in the upper reaches of a river, where it is smallest and most vulnerable, ranging from the micro-local (e.g. specific pollution, flooding, landslip) to the macro-global (e.g. warming). Any or all of those can be catastrophic for the run from a particular river. One careless farmer can kill more salmon in 20 minutes than all the FEBs in the catchment in a year.

The worrying macro-global issue is warming, over which we have no direct control. This is because the hatching of salmon eggs is a function of degree/days. The warmer the water, the sooner they hatch. However, the lifecycle of the invertebrates on which they depend as fry and parr is driven by daylight and sun angle, and starts in a relatively narrow time band. As a result, premature hatching can lead to huge losses through starvation. Moreover, there is growing evidence that warming trends are causing earlier smolting, leading to smaller weaker smolts going to sea with a lower probability of survival.

We can, however, continue to take effective action on the micro-local front, and there's a wide range of options. In most rivers egg-to-smolt mortality is in the range 97-98%. Good local actions can improve that figure towards 95%, which hugely increases the number of smolts going to sea, and hence improves the number of returning fish.

The historical evidence clearly shows that at sea survival has stayed in the range 4-8% for the past 70 years. The odd figures of 30% are very isolated cases and therefore statistical outliers. The impact of offshore netting of salmon in migration appears to be an overstated concern, and members of the Forum with detailed knowledge of the fishing industry have previously posted to explain why. Put simply, if you're driving a trawler than costs millions to buy and thousands per day to operate, you target giant schools of mackerel and haddock, not packets of 15-20 salmon that are at a different layer in the water.

The vast majority of fish caught and photographed on this Forum in 2020 have been in outstanding health, suggesting that over the past 2-3 years there hasn't been a problem of feeding at sea. This has been a welcome change after couple of periods in the last decade when scrawny grilse were a notable feature.

On the Forum we have frequently debated and generally agreed that in the short term - i.e. a few years - rod catches are a very poor analogue for population. After all, for all our professed skill and experience, we modestly know that catching a salmon is all about random events and factors. You can have plenty of salmon in a river, as we have this year on the Ure, but for whatever reason that only the salmon really know, they're wholly uninterested in our flies. For me, that's been the story of 2020. But the fact that I've caught 90% fewer salmon than in some previous years is not evidence of a 90% reduction in population.
When somebody steals your car you instinctively think , where did I put it , thats the feeling before you realise ,its been stolen.
I fished a barren river Lune in September 2013 , and since not a lot better.
I am convinced the fish were taken by nets.
 

MCXFisher

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When somebody steals your car you instinctively think , where did I put it , thats the feeling before you realise ,its been stolen.
I fished a barren river Lune in September 2013 , and since not a lot better.
I am convinced the fish were taken by nets.

The only way you lose a whole river's worth of fish by netting is if the netting occurs inside the river on a full-barrier basis. A river's stock don't all migrate to the same place - it's a natural survival strategy - which precludes at sea netting wiping out a specific stock.
 

carma2

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The only way you lose a whole river's worth of fish by netting is if the netting occurs inside the river on a full-barrier basis. A river's stock don't all migrate to the same place - it's a natural survival strategy - which precludes at sea netting wiping out a specific stock.
Not one river , the entire autumn run for many river , they threatened to do it in 2010 because of Scottish netting , they know
exactly the migration routs , as soon as the north Atlantic calms down after winter storms they can get out of port and take the lot.
 

MCXFisher

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The loss of the autumn run has far more to do with the natural movement of the migration cycle, which is in turn connected to large scale weather cycles than anything to do with netting. For example, the Tweed is currently in transition from autumn to spring and summer.
Catching the lot is not feasible.
 

Loxie

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I honestly believe that the back end run was netted in 2013 , probably by the Greenlanders and Faroese as they
threatened to do in 2010 .
In river problems cannot be the cause of such a dramatic loss of a whole run of fish.
They obviously put the Tweed fish back then!
 

Loxie

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You must have been reading different reports from me. 2020 was a good year for returning salmon and even more so for returning grilse. The situation may appear different on rivers stricken by drought most of the season. I will be happy if 2021 is as good as 2020 with regard to numbers of returning fish.
Yes indeed the Scottish rivers I fish had huge runs this year. On one one rod landed over 60 in a week all on fly on one.
 

rytenuff

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I am sure this has all been said before but it is worth repeating.

GOOSANDERS, to choose just one species of fish eating birds FEBs.
According to the RSPB they number between 3,100 to 3,800 pairs in the UK.
They require to consume approx. 500grams (lets call it 1lb) of fish per day to maintain health.
If we take the average weight of each fish to be 2oz then each bird will kill and consume 8 fish per day.
8 fish x 365 days = 2920 fish consumed per bird per year.
There are between 3,100 to 3,800 pairs in the UK. So, say a conservative estimate of 6500 individual birds.
6500 birds consuming 1lb per day each for 365 days = 2,372,500 lbs of fish or over 1059 Imperial tons.
2,372,500 lbs at approx. 8 fish per lb = 18,980,000 EIGHTEEN MILLION, NINE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THOUSAND fish that will never mature to lay and fertilise eggs to replenish the losses incurred by just ONE species of FEB.
 

sneakypeter

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A massive number of casualties for sure, but it would be interesting to know what % are salmon parr/smolts, a very small percentage I would guess. There are many other species in a lot of waters, only a few in others, all prey. I am in no way defending these killers, but without the legal right to control these invasive, non natives the future is not bright.
 

SOS

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Have we just accepted a new lower 5 year average, rather than look at the bigger picture of a 10yr av or longer.



Looking at this years tweed catches on fishpal they look good against the 5yr av and is a welcome step in the right direction but taken over a 10yr av they are not good,and even the 10 years prior to 2010s record catch had an average of over 11,000.
Same can be said for many other rivers.

Pick a river. Click on Salmon rods,then choose a river from the list.
 
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Mattytree

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I would like to see a ban on taking fish in October, it seems that this time of year brings out the idiots in force on to the upper reaches as the photo in the tees thread show... maybe even finish the season two weeks early too as it obvious Some fish are always spawning earlier...
I would like to see any land owner who ploughs,sprays Or fertilises land adjacent to any tributaries or main rivers prosecuted, and higher fines and greater prosecution for discharging slurry and the environment agency to sort out there raw sewage discharge.
 

Rrrr

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I would like to see a ban on taking fish in October, it seems that this time of year brings out the idiots in force on to the upper reaches as the photo in the tees thread show... maybe even finish the season two weeks early too as it obvious Some fish are always spawning earlier...
I would like to see any land owner who ploughs,sprays Or fertilises land adjacent to any tributaries or main rivers prosecuted, and higher fines and greater prosecution for discharging slurry and the environment agency to sort out there raw sewage discharge.
Agree with that, the feds went fly only and full c+r for october and it seems to be going well. Im not sure the fly only bit makes any odds but returning all fish no matter the condition is going well. Im not one to preach about c+r but i think the rule gor october is a step in the right direction.

Sent from my SM-G981B using Tapatalk
 

mows

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A massive number of casualties for sure, but it would be interesting to know what % are salmon parr/smolts, a very small percentage I would guess. There are many other species in a lot of waters, only a few in others, all prey. I am in no way defending these killers, but without the legal right to control these invasive, non natives the future is not bright.
not in the Dee.
Trout, Minnows, lamprey, eel and stickly back is it.
and not that may eels or lamprey.
salmon and seatrout par would be the vast majority.
 

Loxie

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not the back end fish , there are no fresh fish running .

I meant in 2013. The Tweed November run was very large. I wonder how they managed to net Autumn fish but not Spring or Summer ones and not Tweed ones? Presumably they had a bit of a puzzle about whether to net August fish?
 
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cgaines10

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There are so many variables at each stage of a Salmons life cycle. That it's hard to single out one area alone to be the deciding factor on their demise. Salmon and their prey have been fished hard for many years now & the have never been given a chance to fully recover.

As anglers we can do things though, by making their habitat better and much cleaner. Promoting fish welfare. Whether you're for C&R or against is a personal choice & another debate, but seeing anglers chapping gravid fish isn't helping any river.

Many rivers have poor ecology now, so the fry don't have the food source they need to maintain themselves or their numbers. One of the added bonuses of the Salmon run is that once they have spawned, many die off which is a great source of nutrients to the river. This then contributes to the whole food chain. One of the major reasons they are better off in the river than your freezer.

Predation is a huge issue, but killing predators would only being putting a plaster on things. The prey v predator balance across the world shows you that.

To quote the great Sir David Attenborough "The wild is far from unlimited, it's finite. It needs protecting"
 
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rytenuff

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not in the Dee.
Trout, Minnows, lamprey, eel and stickly back is it.
and not that may eels or lamprey.
salmon and seatrout par would be the vast majority.

I would say that holds true for the vast majority of Scottish rivers.
 
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