RESPONSE TO EA CONSULTATION : Managing salmon fisheries in England and on the Border Esk
Tyne Rivers Trust is an environmental charity dedicated to the conservation of the River Tyne for everyone to treasure and enjoy. We care passionately about all aspects of the river: Salmon and Sea-trout are a vital component of a healthy Tyne, being a key part of the food chain, a strong indicator of improving water quality (and so the conservation status of the river), and bringing economic benefits to the whole catchment.
We note that the consultation is concerned with the reduction in exploitation of Salmon generally; and that the river has proved capable of sustaining a Salmon harvest. We should be concerned about Sea-trout in a similar manner. The numbers of Salmon and Sea trout returning to the Tyne are measured each year at the Riding Mill fish counter and although in recent times we have seen increases year on year, we know that the number of migratory fish in the Tyne is nowhere near the level it has sustained in the past.
Current scientific knowledge does not tell us what level of harvest is sustainable; in a complex river system like the Tyne, which is stocked via the Kielder hatchery and faces great pressure from a number of sources, this is an almost impossible question to answer. There is a great deal of conjecture, and widely differing opinions. As an organisation which prides itself on evidence-based action, we trust that the question of what comprises a ‘sustainable’ harvest continues to be researched and informed by science, and we hope that whatever the outcome of this consultation, a responsible approach to exploitation is adopted (with appropriate conservation measures) as the Tyne’s fishery responds to the changing threats, policies and activities to which it is subjected.
We recognise the importance of this consultation, and encourage all those interested in our river (and who have not yet done so) to respond : by gathering a wide range of opinion, it must be hoped that a consensus policy can be reached.
Whatever the outcome, there will continue to be a need to address the wider issues which suppress the potential of the Tyne to support migratory and resident fish, including the presence of in-stream barriers to fish movement, habitat degradation and loss, pollution, threats from poor land management and planned development, and more.
We look forward to working with the Environment Agency and others in implementing policy to ensure that the spawning potential for our Salmon and Sea-trout increases, and that they continue to thrive.”