Environment Agency warns of low eel and salmon stocks

The Environment Agency has announced that anglers can find fish in more rivers than at any time in the past century.

However, the Our Nations’ Fisheries report conducted by the agency, also warned that stocks of certain fish species are at dangerously low levels.

The agency reported that eel numbers are at only 1% of historic levels, while wild salmon stocks are also seriously depleted. Both migratory species, the eel population in particular, are believed to have been affected by adverse environmental conditions at sea.

However, the survey, which is the biggest ever study into inland fishing in England and Wales, found fish in 98% of inland waterways, with over half of them home to eight or more species. The waterways richest in fish were the River Mole in Surrey and River Lymm in Lincolnshire, which each had 14 different species recorded.

The agency reported that improved sewage treatment and rebuilding river habitats was responsible for the boom in fish numbers.

The Environment Agency said that almost four million anglers would benefit from the increase in fish stocks, adding up to a leisure industry worth around £3 billion. The agency said that anglers spend, on average, around £1000 a year on tackle, travel, accommodation and meals during their fishing trips, supporting thousands of jobs.

A study of the River Teifi in South Wales found that salmon and sea trout anglers made an estimated £1 million annual contribution to the economy.


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