In case you have missed some of the recent news, and are looking to fill in time as we wait for some rain and runs of fish, here are a few bits that may be of interest.
Hardly news, I suppose, given that by the EA’s own figures, only 14% of English rivers are of “good ecological standard”.
But in a recent live-streamed documentary focusing on the River Wye, many of the common problems have been highlighted.
If you have not done so, you really should watch this. And then to make sure that the general public are aware (and horrified), please send it on to as many people as possible
Salmon fishing banned as pinks take over
No, not here – yet!
You might have thought we had problems with some Pacific pink salmon turning up in rivers from the Don in Scotland to the Hampshire Avon. But that may be just a foretaste of what is to come.
Atlantic salmon are so few now in the Finnmark area of Norway and in Finland that fishing has been banned in several rivers in this once productive area. And a major contributing factor is the number of pinks, which are so plentiful they have to be trapped. In one river, where in 2017 there were only 8 of these interlopers caught, in nine days recently there were 2,700 caught.
And these Pacific fish were introduced as an experiment into some Russian rivers as early as the 1960’s. You would think we would learn about introducing species into an established ecosystem, but have we really? (see our previous comments on the introduction of beavers in the UK).
Salmon Farming banned
No, don’t get too excited – it has been banned in a country which has no salmon farms! Nevertheless, I may be an important pointer of the way forward….
In the Argentinian side of the southern archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, lawmakers have unanimously approved a bill banning salmon farming in the pristine waters of the Beagle Channel, the only viable area in Argentina for salmon farming, on the grounds of its environmental impact.
This ban has received considerable support from the Chilean side where “the salmon fattening centres operate on average at 40% anaerobic conditions, impairing the quality of waters and sediments, and consequently biodiversity”. Chile provides a quarter of the world’s supply of farmed salmon with over 1,000 farms and a history of environmental disasters despite the use of tons of antibiotics.
Let us hope that the example of Tierra del Fuego can be taken up as an example in our own country, and will lend support to communities like the Isle of Skye.
This bill in its most basic form looks relatively harmless, setting up a committee that is advisory only. The purpose of the committee is to advise, during the formulation or implementation of any government policy, the effect on the welfare of animals as sentient beings.
There is already a lot of concern about the possible future impact of this bill and the committee – who, by the way, are appointed by the Secretary of State. Will there be a sensible cross-section of opinions represented on this committee?
As Martin Salter, Head of Policy at the Angling Trust, said:
“The open-ended nature of the current Bill clearly leaves it vulnerable to mission creep which will be exploited by those wishing to ban or severely curtail country sports such as fishing and shooting. Further clarification is required and that message has been made loud and clear to parliamentarians.”
The bill is remarkably short, so if you want to see it in detail, you can find it here