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As you say it is very difficult to keep responders on topic.
It seems to me that all angling, fishing charities need to speak with a single voice because the first thing any politician wants to know is how many people do you speak for. The more people you represent the more they react to your needs as most politicians and political parties live with the constant fear or becoming deselected / voted out or irrelevant. It is a very unforgiving business in which numbers count.
Having said all that I think you also need to look outside the UK at some of the international organisations who are dealing with an even bigger problem which is the wholesale plundering of the worlds oceans by overfishing and pollution. Viewing the Netflix film on this subject is a must for all of us who are interested in saving our rivers and waterways but the only way we can make a difference is by all interested charities and organisations forgetting any differences in their aims and purpose and to garner support on an international scale just like Greenpeace and others do. Size really does matter when it comes to changing hearts and minds. Frankly we should start by forgetting we are Interested in English or Scottish or Welsh rivers and act as one UK force. That UK force then represents us at an international level and it might well include the small coastal fisherman and others who stand to lose everything if we don't act now. Sewerage dumping, pollution, plastics (including commercial fisherman's equipment) bottom trawling, bye catch, sand eel fishing for fertiliser, farming runoff, forestry runoff and a hundred more issues which need addressing but most importantly we need the public to start to recognise that we are trespassing upon the very environment which fish and other waterborne creatures live and survive in. We have got the world thinking about global warming and air pollution so surely the next step is to persuade the public that all their efforts to rid the world of polluting greenhouse gasses is a worthless exercise if we do not also make a serious and concerted effort to clean up our oceans and waterways and our fishing practices at the same time . This requires all interested bodies to create a single forum which speaks with one voice. Sounds Grand doesn't it but making it happen is going to be the problem as everyone, however, well meaning has their own agenda. My only suggestion is that we start with our various angling trusts and charities etc maybe also our small coastal fishermen creating a dedicated forum, inviting others to join / participate, getting political sponsorship and then seeking out others internationally with a similar agenda. Can we find one dedicated person of international standing to step forward and lead us lesser mortals into battle. Suggestions on a postcard please.
Have been asking for many years why we have so many salmon "conservations" bodies. One body covering the lot has a lot more clout. AS said before it reads to me like empire building. The money saved on offices and others could be far better spent on looking after the fish and the anglers who are the ones who spend the cash.
Bob.
 

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Jon Gibb's assertion in his remarks on the S&TC that the industry employs 8000 people in remote communities is absolute nonsense and I can't think why someone aspiring to be a respected commentator should use that figure. 12-1500 direct,local jobs is the accepted figure and most of these will be on or near the basic wage.
Innes "12-1500 direct,local jobs is the accepted figure and most of these will be on or near the basic wage." Do you know how much of that number is actual local labour and not "draughted in" foreign labour?.....just asking!

Also, to start saving whats left of wild stocks....cull the predators that have no natural predators of their own. I don't mean cull just for the sake of salmon, I mean cull for food too. We do it to dear, cows, sheep etc every day. So why not seals etc and save a lot of fish species. That would do for a start and then work it back from there. Easiest option first
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I don't think you'll see seal on the menu anytime soon. Apex predators such as seals amass toxic levels of pollutants over the course of their lifetime. A friend of mine autopsies cetaceans and pinnipeds and said that levels of heavy metals / plastics and other toxic substances is staggering. You might be alright with a seal pup mind, but don't eat the liver..
 

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The lack of food seems to result from a drop in planktonic life in the sea. If the total biomass of the sea was healthy then the increase in pelagic fish would not be such a problem.
What was not clear was if the increase in mackerel herring and blue whiting in the North Atlantic was the result of warming seas sending them further north, because we have seen a drop in mackerel down here in the south. Those that do turn up are also very small.
Overall I found the presentation convincing if a hard listen.
Before the age of Covid I was kindly invited to a presentation of the smolts vs pelagics match, it's effect on the future of salmon and the hopes for the tagging and tracing of smolts.

The fervour and sincerity was real.

I read other and recent documents saying mackerel and other pelagic fish were the greatest threat to smolts.

All want to unlock the box that holds the prescription to cure the decline of S.Salar.

Alister Hardy confirmed something in his deep research into our fisheries and plankton ; 'The Open Sea' 1956. An abundance of Herring, Mackerel, Scad, Whiting etc depend upon an abundance of a strong range of plankton , from the tiny 'medusae' 1-2 mm to hyperiid amphipods 5-8 mm as well as juvenile ammodytes ( sand eel ) 6-10mm .

These are the very same items that smolts ( 5-12cm ) will feed upon. Smolts just the size of other juveniles trailing about the North Atlantic in the summer all eating similar items.

So a burgeoning population of pelagics should indicate a fecund sea that can support juvenile anadromous salmon.
Smolts push out to sea in May/June and head north and west at at time when the majority of herring are no bigger than the smolts, perhaps even smaller.

How far do tiny infant sprat, pilchard , herring and mackerel need to swim to find the mini, midi and maxi plankton that they need?
How different are they to smolts?
Why are there many mackerel but few smolts when once there were many of both?
Given that haddock , spur dog and cod were the greatest predators of herring eggs , infants and juveniles surely they must be well up the list of smolt slayers, yet their numbers are lesser than they were in 1950
Also the smolt would have enjoyed the tiny offspring of haddock & cod spawned in February/April....perhaps that's a problem?

Before WW1 in Europe about 1 million mts of North Sea herring was fished each year. During 1914-1919 70% fewer were caught. Did smolt numbers falter in 1917/20 after mature herring numbers blossomed?

In the 1970s the stocks of mackerel were punished in the South and West by Klondikers and a collapse of North Sea herring closed the fishery in 1977until 1983 . At the same time an industrial scad fishery grew off Killybegs in NW Ireland. Pelagics were heavily overfished.

In both these periods coastal netting of salmon was unabated and in the latter period high seas exploitation was severe.

Did a surfeit or a dearth of Pelagics hinder or help smolts/grilse ?

Knowing that Norway, Iceland and The Faroes fisheries all now claim a right to fish mackerel and perhaps herring beyond EU agreed quota,
an idea that there are 'too many' pelagics is welcome. Surely they aren't influencing this matter?

This is a long way round to saying it's not planktonic and it's not
 

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Innes "12-1500 direct,local jobs is the accepted figure and most of these will be on or near the basic wage." Do you know how much of that number is actual local labour and not "draughted in" foreign labour?.....just asking!

Also, to start saving whats left of wild stocks....cull the predators that have no natural predators of their own. I don't mean cull just for the sake of salmon, I mean cull for food too. We do it to dear, cows, sheep etc every day. So why not seals etc and save a lot of fish species. That would do for a start and then work it back from there. Easiest option first
I don't think you'll see seal on the menu anytime soon. Apex predators such as seals amass toxic levels of pollutants over the course of their lifetime. A friend of mine autopsies cetaceans and pinnipeds and said that levels of heavy metals / plastics and other toxic substances is staggering. You might be alright with a seal pup mind, but don't eat the liver..
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'Staggering' isn't a quantity, alleged, too.

It's maybe Marine Laboratories Aberdeen or maybe the Ab Uni Zoology department that you might go to look for both numbers and distribution.

Mind you, there's always fishery boards and trust payments that never seem to resolve the 'offshore equations', despite increasing 'research' into increasingly retrogressive genetic pollution. Ach, but that's alright - cos it's a' about exports and tonnage and the 'green' economy.
 
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