The latest catch returns for salmon on Cumbrian rivers has indicated a massive decline, with 2013 figures showing angler’s caught was less than half of the previous five-year average, while the sea trout catch was just over half.
“We have major concerns about salmon and sea trout numbers, particularly salmon,” explained Penrith-based fisheries specialist Andy Gowans. The picture is fairly bleak, and numbers are well down, particularly on the Solway rivers.
“Given how widespread the problem is, it can only be a marine survival issue, which is driving the whole thing. There are things we can do on the river - like improving the habitat and removing barriers, and if the anglers can be sensible about the numbers of fish they kill.”
Figures show that 20 years ago about 25 to 30 per cent of the smolts going out to sea came back, but it was now about five per cent at best.
A spokesperson from the UK’s Environment Agency added that the salmon fishing in the region would face lean years in the future unless something is done to improve the fish’s survival rate at sea.