FISH STOCKS FISH FARMING OVER ABSTRACTION COASTAL MIXED
STOCK NETTING WATER POLLUTION HYDROPOWER
AND FISH PASSAGE
The Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) is unique in that it is the ONLY UK fisheries charity which campaigns politically for the management, protection and conservation of salmon, trout, sea trout and all other indigenous fish species and aquatic animals, together with the water environment necessary for them to thrive. Our objectives empower us to take a robust stance on all issues affecting fish species of UK origin, and our influencing work is based around strong legal arguments supported by peer-reviewed evidence from our scientific department and network. Our charitable status enables us to take the widest possible remit in protecting fish stocks and all other water dependent species, and the aquatic ecosystems which support them.
The Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) was established in 1903 to address the damage done to our rivers by the polluting effects of the Industrial Revolution. For 110 years, the S&TA has worked to protect fisheries, fish stocks and the aquatic environment, enabling us to be granted charitable status in England in 2008 and Scotland in 2009. We only achieved charitable status because our historical work was seen as being of wider benefit than just for the interests of anglers and fisheries.
S&TA’s unique niche
While other organisations promote anglers’ rights on a single interest basis, or advise on and carry out fisheries based research, or deliver aquatic restoration programmes, S&TA is unashamedly a campaigning charity on behalf of fisheries and the aquatic environment. We aim to influence decision makers with scientific evidence, but increasingly use legal arguments as the main thrust of our work because national decision makers have a habit of ignoring science that does not support their particular policies, while legal responsibilities are more difficult to dismiss.
Being a campaigning charity has significant benefits in that we operate for a wider public good rather than being a single interest group, albeit that we have enlightened self-interest for a healthy aquatic environment which will support abundant fish stocks and provide more prolific fisheries in future.
Recent S&TA ‘wins’!
Apart from S&TA’s ongoing work on issues such as hydropower, abstraction, diffuse pollution and the Water Framework Directive, we have had some significant successes recently:
- Our threatened legal action stopped the planting of non native acid producing conifers in upland Wales, so protecting fragile trout and salmon spawning streams from further degradation
- We influenced the Government’s decision to close the North East Drift Net Fishery by 2022
- We made a legal Complaint to the EU over the UK Government’s failure to protect chalkstreams
- We kept up pressure on Scottish Government and fish farming industry over sea lice and escapes, and made public the shocking way some farms kill fish and pollute the sea bed. Our subsequent challenge to supermarkets over supposed ’responsible sourcing’ of farmed salmon is ongoing
It is no accident that two of these issues resulted from direct legal action, while the others involved concerted lobbying, supported by science and reminders of legal responsibilities, of Government and, in the case of salmon farming, retailers.
All required a robust approach which S&TA is not scared to replicate whenever required in future!