People mean prizes
Nick Measham, CEO
13 December 2021
We are delighted to hand over the reins to our CEO Nick Measham for the final blog post of 2021.
“What do points mean?” national ‘treasure’ the late Sir Bruce Forsyth would ask the audience of The Price is Right. The screamed reply was “Points mean prizes”. Well, for Salmon and Trout Conservation “people mean prizes”. It has been a busy year with a strong focus on developing the prize team behind our core campaigns – including three very new members.
Andrew Graham-Stewart, our Scottish Director has led the simplification of our Fish Farming campaign to call for an end to all open-net farming. Years of patient negotiation by Andrew and our lawyer, Guy Linley-Adams, with the Scottish Government and the fish farms to introduce credible and effective regulation have led nowhere. Our new uncompromising stance is rapidly gaining momentum – we have just introduced a tool to monitor sea lice by individual farm which will allow us to name and shame, and we have firm plans to ramp up activity over the coming weeks and months.
Dr Janina Gray, our Head of Science and Environment Policy, leads on Water Action and has played a key role in the work of the National Chalkstreams Group with her relentless focus on fixing the causes – abstraction and water quality rather than palliative river restoration favoured by too many NGOs. She has also led our re-run of the Riverfly Census to gather evidence to use in our campaigning to get robust regulation of farmers who are the biggest single threat to our rivers.
Lauren Harley (née Mattingley – somehow or other she found the time to get married!) has grown our SmartRivers volunteer invertebrate sampling network apace despite the challenges posed by Covid. We now have a network of volunteers across England, Scotland and Wales all providing data on their rivers – the vital evidence for us to seek improvements in water quality.
Three recruits – all added in the final few months of the year – will increase the depth and scope of our campaigning that is founded in evidence and the law. Tanglewest Douglas and James Overington both come armed with ecology and law qualifications. Working with Janina and Guy, they are already making an impact. The EA’s recent announcement that it is investigating 2000 sewage works for illegal discharges may well be thanks, in part, to recent pressure from us. John Hickey joins us on fisheries policy and using data from the SAMARCH project will develop policy to protect wild salmon and sea trout from commercial inshore sea fishing.
None of this would be possible without the input of Immy O’Keeffe in communications and fund raising, Kim Sargeant in membership, Debbie Creasy’s ever-watchful eye, John Slader in treasury and the auction team – Veronica Kruger and Ursula Lewis.
Sadly, Richard Garnier-Williams, Welsh-speaking Welsh Director, has decided to retire. He has made a great contribution across all our work in Wales and will be tough to replace.
I am excited by what we have achieved this year and even more by what is to come in the next. I hope you share my optimism and agree we are investing your support wisely. Here’s to more wild fins in rivers in 2022 and beyond.