Salmon at the Edge

The sixth Atlantic Salmon Trust Symposium, entitled “Salmon at the Edge”, was held at Edinburgh University on July 16th-18th and was attended by over 200 delegates.

The sixth Atlantic Salmon Trust Symposium, entitled “Salmon at the Edge”, was held at Edinburgh University on July 16th-18th and was attended by over 200 delegates. The papers were of a very high standard, delivered by an impressive group of speakers from the UK, Ireland, America, Canada and Norway. The discussion periods showed a wide degree of anxiety for the future of Atlantic salmon and, while there were some positive reactions to come from the Symposium, there was an over-riding feeling that the species was in crisis, particularly in the USA.

Three Resolutions were suggested by the Planning Committee to take away from the Symposium:

• The urgent requirement for marine fish farming to be properly regulated, so as to protect wild salmonids on their migration away from estuaries

• The need to highlight the potential dangers of post-smolt by-catch in the pelagic mackerel fishery of the North Norwegian Sea, and possibly elsewhere

• The need to support international research into the management and conservation of Atlantic salmon

S&TA was represented by the Director, together with the new Scottish Director, David Henderson, and the former Scottish Director, Patrick Fothringham, for whom this was a final engagement on behalf of the Association north of the border. During the final discussion period, the S&TA contingent was able to table, and have accepted, a fourth Resolution:

• That the pressure be kept up on relevant governments to close all mixed-stock high seas netting of Atlantic salmon

A lasting impression to come from the Symposium was that, although marine survival was a serious problem for salmon, from many different impacts, it was the freshwater environment which held the key to the future viability of the species. Pollution, access to spawning and nursery feeding areas and habitat and water quality were of paramount importance in good freshwater salmon management. These are issues we can address, while many of the marine problems, especially climate change, are beyond our best endeavours.