Fluctuations and not Cycles.
Massive Decline in salmon Runs across Scotland in 2018! When did it [the decline] begin?
OK, I've heard so much about salmon runs being cyclic, and that its all happened before, and those promoting this suggesting we "ride the storm" and wait for it all to come better again.
Some things to understand.
Yes, for sure there are fluctuations in runs of salmon, this has happened since at least the last ice age, possibly beyond and is controlled by many "ever changing" factors. The last of those 'Poor Times" I will call them, was the late 1800s and into the 1900s. But what we must understand about those times was -
My Son and his pal enjoying playing salmon in the spring of 2005.
We Didn’t have a Business and many families relying on sport fishing at this time. 3000 Working people [Not including owners] directly reliant now.
Seal numbers were only a fraction of what we now have [around 5k compared with 300k]
We had little or no Goosanders.
We had very few people fishing with seriously primitive tackle and methodology.
Our oceans were not being "managed" [species based] by man [Common Fisheries Policy]. Industrial Sand eel fishing, herring fishery, capling fishing.
We didn’t have the knowledge or know-how to help!! We now do.
The land [river catchment] was not influenced/ruined by man.
There were far fewer people living along our rivers [less washing machine detergents], Zero Farm/Forestry run off = Healthy rivers.
No people meddling [Government and their tree hugging/ anti English quango's] in how we managed our fishery
Were still a "Fishing Nation" - Those in towns relied on fishermen providing food. Towns people embraced fishing.
Global Warming [If such a thing exists] ?
I could go on!
To compare what we had then to what we have now is completely stupid and I have to say, spouted only by those with separate "more research" agendas. None of those buying into this rely on salmon coming back for their living and those that do need to waken up and smell the coffee very quickly.
The bottom line is, given what we know about past fluctuations, the impact of all of the above, in all probability, will have a catastrophic impact on numbers of fish returning, which is why, right now, not tomorrow or the next day, we need to waken up to this and begin protecting what we have and use all the information/technology gathered, to "enhance" the remaining stock. To sit back and say it's all happened before whilst doing nothing to help is a national disgrace. There can be no words to describe those who have failed and continue to fail this business. Shambolic, lack of leadership, plan or strategy, lack of logical thinking, apathy and fear to speak out against those who have failed or be labelled a pessimist. Well, you know what, now the games up, and the time for action has come.
"We Know" salmon numbers are at an "all time" low. We don't need any further research to tell us this. We have the ability to deal with "local" predators and to increase juvenile production. This should be an absolute minimum not at the end of any "Poor Period", but the beginning!! We all saw it coming for god sake, in my case [eyes on the river]25 years ago!! So why on earth are we still talking about this now?
I would ask everyone reading this to answer this to answer yes or no to two questions -
Should Goosanders/Cormorants be put back on the general license [Like Crows and Pigeons] when salmon stocks are 'obviously" low? Its a no brainer if the remit is to protect and enhance our fishery. If we don't, then people protecting their livelihoods will "be forced' to take matters into their own hands and become criminals!! Does the Scottish Government really want poorly paid gillies being put in jail for protecting what they "know" to be killing their livelihood? I wouldn’t think so! Or maybe this particular one does!?
During those fluctuations or downturns – Why should we not do what we can to enhance the fishery. It's not been tried properly before so why not try. Give those anglers visiting our rivers "something" to cling too. Otherwise they will disappear completely and along with them the heritage of Salmon Fishing in Scotland.
So - Who thinks its worth time to put together another petition asking for support for the following? I know that personally, I'm sick to the back teeth of nothing being done.
Should Goosanders and Cormorants be put back on General License ? Yes/No
Should we use Smolt Hatcheries to ensure the river produces an excess during "Poor Times" Yes/No
Those two measures will certainly not damage the business but might just help it a little during this present 'Poor Time"!!