England and Wales have joined countries across the Northern Hemisphere to launch the International Year of the Salmon (IYS) 2019, a North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) and North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) initiative to support the conservation and restoration of wild salmon species.
Wild Atlantic salmon are one of England and Wales most iconic species, and a vital indicator of healthy aquatic environments. Their epic migration is one of nature’s greatest stories, swimming thousands of kilometres from home rivers to Northern Hemisphere oceans and back again. A rich cultural history has ensued, where people’s lives and ancestries have been shaped by their interactions with salmon.
However, Atlantic salmon are in a perilous state in their marine and freshwater environments. This is due to environmental change, as well as human activities. IYS will bring people together to share knowledge, stimulate investment in research, and raise public awareness to take appropriate action for salmon. We have an opportunity to save not just salmon and their environments for future generations, but also the communities and cultures that depend on them.
In line with England’s 25 Year Environment Plan commitment to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited, England has affirmed its support for IYS 2019. Take a look at Minister of Fisheries, George Eustice, pledging England’s commitment to IYS below at the 49th Institute of Fisheries Management annual conference.
Wales have also assured their support of IYS as the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has said: “I wholeheartedly back the International Year of the Salmon and hope those with an interest in recreational fishing, ‘take the bait’ in efforts to boost the conservation and restoration of these iconic fisheries within Wales.”
And so, please support IYS actions and events that seek to improve the abundance of this iconic fish species, you can get involved in events in your area. We have a global issue, but if we all act locally, our combined efforts will make a big difference.