Letter: Tide running against salmon

Sir: Your special report on Britain's disappearing wildlife (6 June) fails to mention one of our most threatened species, the North Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

Already classified as endangered by the European Commission and on the ICES list, this magnificent creature is in rapid decline throughout these islands.

The Hampshire Avon counts in scores a salmon run once measured in thousands. The Stour in Dorset supports only a tiny remnant stock, while the Test and Itchen are host only to returning artificially reared stock. The authorities acknowledge that these populations have passed the point where they are able to sustain themselves without intervention.

Add to the many hazards that have caused this near demise, the threat of infection by a lethal parasite called Gyrodactylus salaris that has rampaged from the Baltic, through Scandinavia into France, Germany and Spain, and some might think the cause hopeless.

Salmon lack cuddle appeal. They are wet and rarely visible. They are nevertheless magnificent creatures with a remarkable life cycle the loss of which, to our British waters, would be as tragic as the loss of the tiger to India.


Chairman, Wessex Salmon Association