Friday, March 23, 2012

Salmon Fishing Scotland Salmon Anglers fighting back over Salmon Farming.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Salmon Anglers fighting back over Salmon Farming.

Completely wrong to blame anglers for fall in Scottish wild salmon numbers.
This was a letter in our local paper today. The fish farming industry seem very much aggrieved about regulations coming in to control their activities. They should remember that they have wiped out salmon and sea trout rivers on the west coast of Scotland which have cost hundreds of jobs.

Sir, - In your report, Row over salmon DNA (March 20), Dr Martin Jaffa gave his opinion that the "catching and killing of salmon by anglers over the last 150 years" has led to a diminishing of the gene pool and thus the decline of the species.

Leaving aside the fact that the commercial salmon netting industry has been responsible for the vast majority of salmon killed over the centuries, it is well documented and researched through peer reviewed science that the fall in wild salmon since the last period of true abundance in the 1960s and 1970s is due to a major decline in marine survival.

That said, it is an inconvenient truth for Dr Jaffa and the fish farm industry that the fall in Scottish wild salmon numbers in the last 30 years has been disproportionately evident in those areas of the west Highlands and Islands where salmon farming has proliferated.
It is completely wrong to try to blame anglers for this. This association recently published a review of 137 scientific papers that showed the damage that is inflicted on wild salmon and sea trout from poorly sited and operated salmon farms, a fact borne out by the problems experienced in Norway and accepted as requiring urgent remedial action by the Norwegian government.

Rather than trying to engineer this issue as a fight between fish farmers and anglers, Dr Jaffa would be better served working towards resolutions which would allow a successful fish farming industry to co-exist alongside healthy and self-sustaining populations of wild salmon and sea trout, which is the wish of this association and, I would suggest, all those with a respect for these wonderful and iconic natural resources.

Paul Knight.
Chief Executive, Salmon & Trout Association Scotland,
London Bridge,

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