Salmon Assessment Workshop – Telford, July 2016
Salmon assessment in England: time to take stock?
This workshop, which was held on 14 July 2016 in Telford, examined arrangements for stock assessment and conservation limits in England. It brought together some 40 experts and representatives from other interested organisations, with the objective of identifying ways of working together to improve the current system. It was organised by the Institute of Fisheries Management, the Atlantic Salmon Trust and the Environment Agency.
The workshop heard a number of presentations explaining the origins of conservation limits, how these are implemented in England and Wales, and in Ireland and the options that exist for modifying them.
Accurate information on salmon stocks is needed both to calculate conservation limits for individual rivers and to assess whether they are being met. The workshop, therefore, heard further presentations on how rivers trusts obtain data on such things as fry numbers, on the need and benefit of obtaining more accurate information on river habitats, on the use of novel technologies such as remote sensing and genetics in stock assessment, on the possible ways of improving data obtained from rod catches and on the issues associated with assessing smolt numbers and using fish counters to assess adult returns.
Representatives of angling and other rod fishery interests made clear their reservations about some aspects of the current system and suggested possible changes. It was clear from the discussion that many anglers find conservation limits and the methods used to undertake assessments of stocks and conservation limit compliance difficult to understand. There was general agreement that not only should improvements in the current arrangements be considered but those efforts were also needed to make the whole system more transparent and to increase confidence in it.
The workshop was facilitated by the Environment Agency’s England Fisheries Group as part of the Agency’s Five Point Approach to restoring salmon in England. The Agency, together with the England Fisheries Group, will now decide how best to take forward the issues identified by the workshop.
One of the principal objectives of the workshop was to help develop options for changes to conservation limits and stock assessment systems. A note, with the title POSSIBLE CHANGES TO CONSERVATION LIMITS AND STOCK ASSESSMENT IN ENGLAND and drawing on the presentations and discussion at the workshop to suggest a number of possible changes to the current system, is now available to download here. The note was produced by the Atlantic Salmon Trust to assist the Environment Agency and the England Fisheries group in their consideration of possible changes. The note can be downloaded here
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