Letter sent to The Shooting Times by Mike Swan, Head of Education
1 Minute Read
Richard Negus is quite right that beavers have not been a problem for salmon on most Norwegian rivers (Country Diary 23 June). However, he is also quite right that the Norwegian rivers are very different from our own. Almost all are westward flowing, with a steep gradient where beavers cannot build dams even if they try. So, the fact that the beaver protagonists are apt to quote this example should be taken with a large pinch of salt. While resident trout can indeed wax fat in the beaver ponds, we should be sceptical of any benefit for migratory salmonids. Salmon and sea trout may well pass beaver dams easily enough in wet years, but in dry ones they could be a serious impediment to spawning migrations. Also, we should not forget that juveniles migrating seawards in spring may well be trapped.
We need some much more detailed scientific investigation before we unreservedly welcome beavers back into the British countryside. Meanwhile, further releases should be put on hold, before we risk further damage to populations of wonderful fish that are already in a parlous state because of human activity.
POLL: Should beavers be reintroduced in England? >