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henry d

The end of a Salmon river?

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I don`t wander as far as I did when the dog was still about but recently went over to the Tay. I was shocked, but not surprised to see just 2 guys fishing the club beat and in 10-15 minutes I saw 6-7 fish, most head and tailing through from the run below. I have fished this beat and even back then, mid to late 90`s, some of the local guys thought the fishing was *&^%ed, and I now suspect they are right. I had hoped the buy out of the netting would help, but it didn`t, neither did the various rules and regs that were implemented to help stocks recover.

IMG_20190918_080805005_HDR.jpg.f47e64205f9bf85d3256e5aef043d322.jpgIMG_20190918_080810810.jpg.bd2d7590b1f02f26d23c35541ff5eed3.jpgIMG_20190918_080816598_HDR.jpg.44d71e4dd24bca08c24f00aff5a48aee.jpg

Pretty much a shadow of its former self, I sat on top of the croy above one day about this time of year in the 90`s and just took random photos of the river trying to get pictures of the salmon leaping, I don`t think I got one frame that didn`t have a fish jumping, I couldn`t do that today, so very sad.

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Prices are plummeting on the Dee as well - The river looks great, but it's empty

Edited by Fatcatsplat

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Plenty of rainbows escape from the fish farm at Almondbank and come downstream but they keep the ospreys and otters in food

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Its widespread, I had 5 hours on Bottom Tweed today in what should have been prime time and conditions and saw one fish.

 

Blackpowder

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19 minutes ago, Stonepark said:

As long as the populations keep getting hammered by trawlers, rivers will continue to decline.

It really boils my ****..........Over the years the EA have bought in ever more draconian rules for the river fisheries, which have not halted the decline, in fact have had no effect whatsoever !.........Controlling the things that predate Salmon in our rivers, estuaries and at sea, would be a good start!

 

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1 hour ago, panoma1 said:

It really boils my ****..........Over the years the EA have bought in ever more draconian rules for the river fisheries, which have not halted the decline, in fact have had no effect whatsoever !.........Controlling the things that predate Salmon in our rivers, estuaries and at sea, would be a good start!

 

Like the net fishing industry used to do, was their demise the good thing we thought back then?

Edited by guzzicat

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I ghillie on a prime beat of the Tweed, and for the last 5 years it has been dreadful. Cormorants, goosanders, seals and dolphins all preying on young and mature salmon. Everything on this river is protected bar the salmon. When will they wake up and smell the coffee, something needs done now, not later when they are almost extinct in this country. Reports I hear are not just in the U.K. Iceland, Russia and Norway numbers also declining. It was a sad day when Orri Vigfusson died, he was a campaigner for the salmon,we need someone like him now.

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19 minutes ago, billytheghillie said:

I ghillie on a prime beat of the Tweed, and for the last 5 years it has been dreadful. Cormorants, goosanders, seals and dolphins all preying on young and mature salmon. Everything on this river is protected bar the salmon. When will they wake up and smell the coffee, something needs done now, not later when they are almost extinct in this country. Reports I hear are not just in the U.K. Iceland, Russia and Norway numbers also declining. It was a sad day when Orri Vigfusson died, he was a campaigner for the salmon,we need someone like him now.

Well put.

 

Blackpowder

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30 minutes ago, billytheghillie said:

I ghillie on a prime beat of the Tweed, and for the last 5 years it has been dreadful. Cormorants, goosanders, seals and dolphins all preying on young and mature salmon. Everything on this river is protected bar the salmon. When will they wake up and smell the coffee, something needs done now, not later when they are almost extinct in this country. Reports I hear are not just in the U.K. Iceland, Russia and Norway numbers also declining. It was a sad day when Orri Vigfusson died, he was a campaigner for the salmon,we need someone like him now.

It ain’t gonna happen billy, if the protectionists have their way, they will sacrifice every Salmon, sea trout, grouse, curlew, songbird, farm animal......in fact anything and everything to stop real conservationists (Shooters, river keepers, gamekeepers etc) controlling the things that predate them.

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5 hours ago, henry d said:

Plenty of rainbows escape from the fish farm at Almondbank and come downstream but they keep the ospreys and otters in food

yeah, the Almond near the fish farm was a busy spot after the regular escapes lol

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I fish on the Tyne, and it had been bucking the trend with catches and counts holding up. Helped (or not - depending on who you listen to!) by the innovative hatchery who reared a higher quality of smolt than many other hatcheries, and compensated for the lost spawning grounds from Kielder.  However, August count from the riding mill fish counter is just in, and with the NE nets off and a lot of water I would have expected stable numbers of fish. But it was 2,160, which is less than a third of the previous 5 year average (6600). Maybe some of the missing fish will run later, but seems more likely they are dead. Probably at sea.

Read an interesting thing the other day - Billy please correct if I am wrong- that habitat improvements on the Tweed mean that record numbers of parr are in the river, and smolts leaving. So the sea mortality must be horrendous. Did anyone read the paper a couple of years ago suggesting massive mackerel population explosion and its potential impact on the smolt run due to predation.

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19 hours ago, Stonepark said:

As long as the populations keep getting hammered by trawlers, rivers will continue to decline.

I dont think trawlers in UK waters are a problem.   Mainly east coast trawlers are targeting norway lobsters(prawns) and white fish cod haddock etc which are all bottom feeding species known as demersal fish.   Salmon swim in the upper layers of water and are pelagic species like herring  and mackeral.   Having said that my main worry would be the accidental catch by pelagic fishing vessels of adult salmon and/or smolts.    Thousands of seals abound north and south of the Tweed estuary, add dolphins to the game which are seen flipping salmon from the water and you have a problem,  then of course there are the multitude of fish eating birds which prey on the young salmon and trout.

 

Blackpowder

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Three effects

It's reckened that at least 25% smolts are caught as bycatch in pelagic fisheries (primarily russian trawlers) but no one is keeping an accurate record and these are discarded.

It's reckoned that 25% of adult salmon are taken by trawlers as they feed or make their way back and either kept or discarded depending on coutry boat come from.

Since the seas have had 80% of fish stock biomass removed since the 1930s by overfishing and which accelerated from the 70's, seals, dolphns etc have no choice but to eat anything that is left and are not the problem as they did not over fish the stocks for commercial gain including turing them into fertiliser.

The annual sea catch landed used to be (pre 1975) circa 1,000,000 tonnes, since then it has declined to 400,000 tonnes, with the wiping out of the demersal stocks (by beam trawling of the sea bed killing everything and turning it into an underwater desert) is the the main reason for both demersal decline and pressure being put on pelagic species by catch 100% or more of annual increase in biosmass, resulting in stocks not growing back to what they were previously.

Mackeral and Herring stocks used to be huge (compared to today) and there were plenty of salmon returning then, with both herring and mackeral serving as food for the salmon).

With plenty of adults returning and plenty of eggs, juviniles etc, avian and mammal predation is not an issue and is rightfully a 'red herring' to use an appropriate pun.

Edited by Stonepark

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8 hours ago, Teal said:

I fish on the Tyne, and it had been bucking the trend with catches and counts holding up. Helped (or not - depending on who you listen to!) by the innovative hatchery who reared a higher quality of smolt than many other hatcheries, and compensated for the lost spawning grounds from Kielder.  However, August count from the riding mill fish counter is just in, and with the NE nets off and a lot of water I would have expected stable numbers of fish. But it was 2,160, which is less than a third of the previous 5 year average (6600). Maybe some of the missing fish will run later, but seems more likely they are dead. Probably at sea.

Read an interesting thing the other day - Billy please correct if I am wrong- that habitat improvements on the Tweed mean that record numbers of parr are in the river, and smolts leaving. So the sea mortality must be horrendous. Did anyone read the paper a couple of years ago suggesting massive mackerel population explosion and its potential impact on the smolt run due to predation.

You are correct Teal, the past few years have seen record runs of smolts to the sea. This year about 30 of them were radio tagged £300each for a tag, I heard about half of them made it to the sea. So it seems the rivers are healthy, its when they are at sea they have problems.

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On 20/09/2019 at 12:09, Teal said:

Did anyone read the paper a couple of years ago suggesting massive mackerel population explosion and its potential impact on the smolt run due to predation.

Not sure how a mackerel can take a smolt, all the mackerel I have caught have been stuffed with herring fry or small sandeel, of which there has been huge shoals for the past 4-5 years. I agree with Billy that the problem is offshore and will have a net connected to it, whether it is directly scooping the salmon or their food. West coast will be all about the infestation problems, all in all they have a tough time.

@Teal Regarding the Tyne, I have watched the netsman at South shields pier get some huge bags from his set nets but even he is getting problems with seals and I have witnessed one seal snatch a fish that was actually in the net and scarper, however he is making inroads on them as he has been shooting a few apparently.

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1 hour ago, henry d said:

Not sure how a mackerel can take a smolt, all the mackerel I have caught have been stuffed with herring fry or small sandeel, of which there has been huge shoals for the past 4-5 years. I agree with Billy that the problem is offshore and will have a net connected to it, whether it is directly scooping the salmon or their food. West coast will be all about the infestation problems, all in all they have a tough time.

Have a read of this- http://www.pelagisk.net/media/fm/9By4XvjHKl.pdf it's quite interesting. Just a hypothesis but having spoken to someone who has involvement in this area, she said "there is some plausibility, because mackerel fisheries are flourishing and even with a large quota being taken, continue to flourish, makes me wonder is there some merit to this idea". I believe there was an expectation that mackerel fisheries would collapse like others in the face of overfishing, but that has never happened, and the data recorded to estimate populations and then to base the catch quotas on seems to have a lot of problems with it.

 

@henry d I can believe that about the seals, but it is easy for us to point the finger at things we can see, such as the cormorants goosanders, dolphins and seals. The most recent one I heard was large brown trout predating parr and should be smashed on the head! Of course they all do it, and they aren't helping, but as you said the problem is offshore and of mans doing.

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4 hours ago, Teal said:

Have a read of this- http://www.pelagisk.net/media/fm/9By4XvjHKl.pdf it's quite interesting. Just a hypothesis but having spoken to someone who has involvement in this area, she said "there is some plausibility, because mackerel fisheries are flourishing and even with a large quota being taken, continue to flourish, makes me wonder is there some merit to this idea". I believe there was an expectation that mackerel fisheries would collapse like others in the face of overfishing, but that has never happened, and the data recorded to estimate populations and then to base the catch quotas on seems to have a lot of problems with it.

 

@henry d I can believe that about the seals, but it is easy for us to point the finger at things we can see, such as the cormorants goosanders, dolphins and seals. The most recent one I heard was large brown trout predating parr and should be smashed on the head! Of course they all do it, and they aren't helping, but as you said the problem is offshore and of mans doing.

I`ve had a quick (skim) read and had a look at some ICES articles and they seem at odds to each other, along with reports of the NE atlantic mackerel extending their range into the N sea after the collapse of the herring and mackerel (1980`s). There is also some good articles on how mackerel, herring and cod are connected as they all prey on each other at various and different times, so it isn`t as simple as major/minor predators, inland/offshore, etc etc.

Finally the G6 size mackerel is interesting, I believe that MLS are different for N sea and channel/NE atlantic and recently we have been getting some cracking mackerel, last year there were a lot of mixed size mackerel in a shoa,l not only are they now longer but chunkier too with good layers of subcutaneous fat. I will have to weigh them next time but they weren`t too far from 1 1/4lb so almost 600gm if me maffs is good.

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37 minutes ago, henry d said:

I`ve had a quick (skim) read and had a look at some ICES articles and they seem at odds to each other, along with reports of the NE atlantic mackerel extending their range into the N sea after the collapse of the herring and mackerel (1980`s). There is also some good articles on how mackerel, herring and cod are connected as they all prey on each other at various and different times, so it isn`t as simple as major/minor predators, inland/offshore, etc etc.

Finally the G6 size mackerel is interesting, I believe that MLS are different for N sea and channel/NE atlantic and recently we have been getting some cracking mackerel, last year there were a lot of mixed size mackerel in a shoa,l not only are they now longer but chunkier too with good layers of subcutaneous fat. I will have to weigh them next time but they weren`t too far from 1 1/4lb so almost 600gm if me maffs is good.

I think the thrust of the article is about why the ICES is wrong in their mackerel assessment. I don't proclaim to be an expert, but if you read the article in depth I think it presents some good arguments about why the ICES assessment is wrong. There are serious question marks. Honestly I would advise not skim reading it, to shoot it down, there is a lot to take in. There seems to be some real howlers in how they (ICES) reached their numbers. Making the data fit their argument on population sizes, and applying arbritrary reduction factors, so on.. so that the data appears in the range they had expected.

I do think there is some merit here. I see that ICES have in May made a big adjustment to NE mackerel quotas for 2019 - doubling them. https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2019/05/16/ices-doubles-northeast-atlantic-mackerel-catch-advice-on-revised-stock-status/ So they recognise an issue with their data. But perhaps it still doesn't go far enough. I mean earlier in the year they stripped Mackerel of its MSC certification based on their data which showed it was below the MSY, which is kind of a big deal. If that data was manipulated as the JCH hypothesis suggests then it could be giving all sorts of poor advice with respect to over or under fishing.

Were the 1980s any good for salmon?

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It would appear that "baby salmon" is a popular delicacy in Spain. In Barcelona a few years back they seemed to be on the menu at most of the restaurants and when we went round the fish market there were literally mounds of them on various counters.

They were about 6" long, if that. The person we were with, who knew more about fish than I do,  commented at the time that they would not be legal in the UK. He also said, as far as he knew the same rules should apply to Spain but clearly they didn't.

If what he said was correct I don't suppose  the paperwork was done properly either, the thought of what all those little tiddlers would have become is quite heartbreaking.

Really speaking, they weren't theirs for the Spanish to take

Edited by Vince Green

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I will get the article properly read at some stage Teal, busy at the moment. I wasn't in the UK much during the 80's to comment on the salmon but the seatrout in the Falklands were epic :D

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Seems a bit of a guesstimate from all sides the author makes a few assumptions and dismisses some other hypotheses without going back to them or saying why in the text. He also seems to be concentrating on the western side of the UK and mentions that the hypotheses would be similar on the N sea, but I have been sat on my kayak a mile or so out with crustacian fry crawling up my legs (I usually sit side saddle/legs akimbo when fishing) and there are 0000000`s of sandeel etc and the mackerel are fat as butter, I can`t see the over grazing, and yes they are just personal obvs. Then there is the growth of the ABT in the western approaches and N sea which would seem to indicate healthy pelagic species from launce to mackerel/herring.

It`s a big eco system out there and there will be a lot of different things that impinge on each other so there is not going to be a simple answer to it but I suppose I will have to increase my mackerel quota to give it a try.

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