From 1st September our name will be Salmon & Trout Conservation UK (S&TC UK), with a new strapline, “Protecting wild fish and their habitats since 1903”.
Paul Knight, S&TC UK’s CEO explains, "We have kept ‘Salmon & Trout’ in the new title, retaining our contact with the past. However, our focus on salmon and trout isn’t only because they are the favoured target species of our main supporters, but because they are also the ultimate natural indicator to the health of our rivers and lakes. If salmon and trout are thriving, then there isn’t much wrong with the environment. If they are under threat, as so many wild stocks are today, then that’s a pretty clear sign that the water environment is struggling, almost certainly because of human interference. "
He adds, "S&TC UK is still largely supported by game fishermen, but now more than ever we have to show ‘enlightened self interest’ by realising that we must look after the resource – the fish stocks and the habitats vital for their survival – if we are going to have anything left to fish for in something like a natural environment in future years. If we fail, we will be seen as the generation that stood by and watched the death of the golden goose on our watch, and we will rightly be damned for letting that happen."
S&TC UK’s latest project, the National Riverfly Census elicited a huge response for both funds and on the ground support which, Paul Knight believes, demonstrates how much anglers care for our rivers, lakes and their ecology, and the differing effects that either healthy or struggling water systems have on fish populations. "That, after all, is ultimately what underlines our fishing experience," he says," and S&TC UK will work as hard as our resources allow us to secure the brightest possible future for our salmon, trout and sea trout, and the habitats necessary for them to thrive.
"S&TC UK’s niche in the fisheries world is to use sound scientific evidence to influence national and international policies that protect wild fish and their habitats – and use legal challenges if decision makers don’t take notice of the science. We are fed up with the environment – and the ‘unseen’ water world of the fish in particular – always being the lowest priority when decisions are taken over development, water abstraction, land use, water-reliant business etc etc., or because supposed society’s need, or individual’s interest, must take precedent. If this continues, we could lose any semblance of a pristine river or abundant wild fish stock inside a generation."
S&TC UK is determined that will not happen. It is operating under a new name but its objectives remain the same as they always have done; to hand over to the next generation an aquatic environment and wild fish stocks in at least as healthy a state as our predecessors enjoyed.