This Sunday (25 September) is World Rivers Day. In this blog Judy Proctor writes about the Environment Agency's work to help salmon thrive in England's rivers.
I have been leading the salmon 5 point approach for nearly 5 months and I’m hugely excited about the progress everyone is making. I was delighted to become the programme lead and implement a programme which gets us all on the right path to making a real difference for this iconic species. I leapt at the opportunity as it involves not only working across our business but with partners in order to build a different approach to conserving salmon. I bring operational experience, a love of rivers and have always enjoyed working with partners at a strategic level to gain real improvements in environmental growth or natural capital.
I get a real buzz working with people who have passion and enthusiasm for salmon and for its conservation be that anglers, partner fisheries organisations and colleagues from across the business.
Salmon are truly an iconic species, with smolts, the young fish migrating thousands of miles from UK waters to the Norwegian Sea and some as far as the waters off Greenland and then returning to lay their eggs in their native river. The highest recorded jump for an Atlantic salmon is over 3m or 12 feet and Scotland holds the record for the largest recorded Atlantic Salmon caught, at 29 kg on the Tay in 1922. Salmon also depend on a healthy water environment and so are welcomed by communities for their positive image.
The Environment Agency together with Government and partners are committed to taking action and have launched the Salmon 5 Point Approach seeking to improve their survival at all life cycle stages. This is the programme of work I’m now leading. We have set out an agreed set of priorities which builds on recent successes and is aimed at restoring one of England's most iconic species.
The 5 points are:
1. Improve marine survival
2. Further reduce exploitation by nets and rods
3. Remove barriers to migration and enhance habitat
4. Safeguard sufficient flows
5. Maximise spawning success by improving water quality
We have celebrated many recent successes in protecting salmon, such as building fish passes to open up new stretches of river to salmon to spawn exemplified by the great community work enabling salmon to access new rivers such as the Don. Numerous successes by a huge number of partners and businesses have also sought to maximise spawning success by improving water quality, flows and habitat.
The challenge for us now is to continue with these great projects, inject pace into all we do and work together in partnership to tackle the biggest issues the Atlantic Salmon faces to make a real difference to salmon stocks.
For more info on the 5 point approach read this blog by Sarah Chare.