Missing Salmon Alliance calls for cold, clean water and renewed conservation priorities

To mark World Fish Migration Day on Saturday 25 May the Missing Salmon Alliance (MSA) is urging environmental stakeholders to recognise the staggering collapse in migratory fish populations, particularly wild Atlantic salmon, which threatens the health of critical ecosystems.

On Tuesday the MSA took part in the UK River Summit in London to raise awareness of the problems salmon and other species face in our rivers.

The new Living Planet Index (LPI) report on freshwater migratory fishes reveals a staggering 81% collapse in monitored population sizes on average between 1970 to 2020, including catastrophic declines of 91% in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 75% in Europe.

In 2023 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reclassified the status of Atlantic salmon from “Least Concern” to “Near Threatened” at a Global scale, and “Endangered” in Great Britain.

Habitat loss and degradation – including fragmentation of rivers by dams and other barriers and conversion of wetlands for agriculture – account for half of the threats to migratory fishes, followed by over-exploitation. Increasing pollution and the worsening impacts of climate change are also fueling the fall in freshwater migratory fish species, which have now been declining consistently for 30 years.

In light of the situation and ahead of World Fish Migration Day, key Missing Salmon Alliance members the Angling Trust, Fish Legal, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), Atlantic Salmon Trust, Fisheries Management Scotland and the Rivers Trust came together at The UK River Summit at Morden Hall, on 21 May 2024 to convey this message. The event welcomed a diverse range of environmental stakeholders and members of the public who care about the health of our rivers and wider biodiversity.

In a cross-party discussion on water security for the future at the event, just one day before the general election was announced this week, leading politicians Toby Perkins (Labour MP and Shadow Minister for Nature and Rural Affairs), Katherine Foxhall (Green Party District Councillor and Nature Recovery Champion), and Tim Farron (MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) pledged to work together on the water crisis on behalf of their parties.

Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns the Angling Trust, an MSA member, said : “Migratory fish have declined by 75% in Europe since 1970. We need cold, clean water and rivers that run free to save our iconic fish. We call on the government to make migratory fish, in particular Atlantic salmon, a conservation priority.”

Dylan Roberts, Head of Fisheries at the GWCT, which is an MSA member, said: “We need to do what we can to protect what is left, and the only way we can do that is by working together.

Missing Salmon Alliance

Founded in 2019, a group of Britain’s leading conservation-focused organisations formed the Missing Salmon Alliance. Their combined expertise has continued to drive action to save our wild Atlantic salmon from the brink of extinction. The member organisations are the Atlantic Salmon Trust, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Angling Trust with Fish Legal, Fisheries Management Scotland, and the Rivers Trust.

World Fish Migration Foundation (WFMF)

The World Fish Migration Foundation (WFMF) is a Dutch non-profit organisation dedicated to the protection, conservation, and restoration of migratory fish populations and their habitats. Their aim is to build an inspiring international dam removal movement to scale up obsolete river barriers removal and restore free-flowing rivers, for the benefit of nature and people.

World Fish Migration Day

World Fish Migration Day is a global celebration to create awareness about the importance of migratory fish and free-flowing rivers. This year, the initiative falls on 25th May.

For more information about the MSA contact:

Claire Zambuni: Claire@zambuni.com 07921299990

Emma Sandham: emma@zambuni.com 07802 725000

Iona Mackay: iona@zambuni.com 07504661424


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