The Icelandic landscape, deviod if influence of man.
Fluctuations and not Cycles
Massive Decline in salmon Runs across Scotland in 2018 -19! 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 and possibly beyond. 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 -
1.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.
2.Seal numbers were only a fraction of what we now have [around 5k compared with 300k]
3.We had little or no Goosanders.
4.We had very few people fishing with seriously primitive tackle and methodology.
5.Our oceans were not being "managed" [species based] by man [Common Fisheries Policy]. Industrial Sand eel fishing, herring fishery, capling fishing.
6.We didn’t have the knowledge or know-how to help!! We now do, but just can’t!
7.The land [river catchment] was not influenced/ruined by man.
10.There were far fewer people living along our rivers [less washing machine detergents], Zero Farm/Forestry run off = Healthy rivers.
11.No people meddling [Government and their tree hugging/ anti English quango's] in how we managed our fishery
12.Similar to the Japanese today, we were still a "Fishing Nation", proud of our fishing/hunting heritage - Those in towns relied on fishermen and hunters for the provision of food. Towns people embraced this culture. Unfortunately this has all changed.
13.Less juveniles produced = Smaller Bait-ball. The salmons only defense when reaching the ocean. Safety in numbers!
14.Global Warming ? Cycles? Fluctuations?
I could go on.
A recent trip to Iceland reinforced my thinking that, not all the salmons problems lie at sea. Looking at this landscape it reminded me of Arctic Russia, totally untouched and unspoiled by man. No influence whatsoever. Salmon rivers in those two countries, from source to sea, are pretty much as god had intended them to be, the same today as they were 1000 x 10,000 years ago. Because of this, it’s logical to think they produce similar numbers of juvenile salmon to the sea annually. All very different to our rivers, all of which are massively influenced by man and no longer produce anything like they did in the past. Here is the main reason, the only logical reason we have a bigger decline than most other rivers.
To compare what we had 100 years ago to what we have now is completely stupid, so much has changed. Such rhetoric is only supported by those with separate agendas. None of those buying into this rely on salmon coming back for their living and those that do need to waken up very quickly.
The bottom line is, given what we know about past fluctuations, the impact of all of the above 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 have the ability to deal with local predators and to increase juvenile production. This should be an absolute minimum not at the end of the "Poor Period", but the beginning!! We all saw it coming for god sake!! 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? Otherwise people protecting their livelihoods will 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 they do!?
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 with them the heritage of Salmon Fishing in Scotland.
1.Should Goosanders and Cormorants be put back on General License ? Yes/No
2.Should we have a National case Study, a seven year experiment to finally “answer” the question on whether, when managed by people with past experience, do Parr/Smolt Hatcheries work or not.
Those two measures will certainly not damage the business but might just help it a little during this present 'Poor Time"!?