Saving the Salmon
In 2004 there was real concern that not enough Atlantic Salmon were reaching the upper parts of Cornwall's River Lynher to spawn. This was largely down to net fishing. But plenty has changed in four years...
The River Lynher flows through Cornwall, passing St Germans and enters into Plymouth Sound.
Today it is once again becoming a haven for salmon, thanks to a unique agreement made between the net fishermen and the Environment Agency, which meant they would stop netting for a period of 10 years.
Racing over the rocks, the Lynher
A few years on and another group of fishermen have taken things a step further.
They've built their own salmon hatchery beside the river and hope to release 20,000 fry this Spring.
Fisherman Arthur White hopes the fry they release will go to sea and eventually come back to the river as adult fish.
"In the Autumn we catch adult fish which we hold for up to ten weeks. We take the eggs from the females, fertilise those eggs, and transform them into special trays. Hopefully within about six weeks they hatch into little Salmon," explains Arthur.
Nick Lintott monitors the hatchery
The hatchery is built on the Lynher's edge and uses the river water.
"We’ve had trouble before with water and decided to build the hatchery here next to the river so we could use the water from the river directly so the fish are quite used to it," explains Nick Lintott.
"Obviously they go straight back in the river, they're right next to it, so it works very well."
The presence of predators in the river combined with a lack of good areas for spawning means that stocks would not replenish very quickly without assistance, as Arthur explains.
The River Lynher on Bodmin Moor
"The condition of the river is not what it used to be and we’ve got to try and supplement the natural spawning of the salmon. The number of fry that are produced by the salmon are much lower than can be achieved through a hatchery.
"Naturally you would get probably 20% of eggs fertilised in the river and of those a quarter might survive and hatch. We have achieved probably an 80% hatch rate. So of about 30,000 eggs we've got around 26,000 fry which is improving on nature we feel."
Not all of the salmon fry will be released at once. Arthur and Nick are hoping to keep a few thousand to rear on to larger fish to improve their chances of survival in the wild.
last updated: 17/03/2008 at 12:16