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Fishing’s Future

Sportfish on mission to reverse UK waterways decline


Game fishing brand Sportfish, is ‘on a mission’ to reverse the decline of UK waterways and, in particular, the demise of wild Atlantic salmon.

In a press release headed SOS – Save Our Salmon – the company highlights the perilous situation surrounding salmon, warning that they could be extinct in ten years’ time.

And it paints a bleak picture with a number of stark facts to emphasis the escalating situation:

  • Over the past 35 years, the global population of wild Atlantic salmon is estimated to have fallen from eight to nine million to as little as two to three million – a decline of around 70%.
  • In 2020, the Environment Agency assessed 48% of English and Welsh salmon rivers as having unsustainable salmon populations and in just two years, that figure has risen to 78%.
  • Only 16% of assessed surface waters in England achieve good ecological status.
  • Over the course of 2020 and 2021, sewage has been dumped into the ocean and rivers around the UK more than 770,000 times.
  • Not a single river in England has received a clean bill of health for chemical contamination.

Sportfish has some strong allies in the mainstream sector. Sir David Attenborough (pictured) recently focused on the plight of the Atlantic salmon in his BBC1 series, Wild Isles, while Paul Whitehouse, star of the hit BBC2 show Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, exposed the extent to which private water companies are polluting rivers.

Organisations fighting for the future of salmon include the Atlantic Salmon Trust, Wild Fish, the Missing Salmon Alliance, Keep ‘Em Wet and the Angling Trust

“It’s great to see high-profile personalities and campaigns supporting the cause, but we feel strongly that we must be doing more,” says Sportfish. “It is important to not only raise the important issues surrounding our rivers and oceans, but also to get the public on board to make more conscious choices to help improve the state we find ourselves in. We are at crisis point and we need to take action now.”

As part of its campaign, Sportfish advocates a number of practices and initiatives for the public to get involved. These include supporting key charities to improve fish habitat; practicing catch and release; petitioning for increased penalties against polluters and stronger enforcement of pollution regulations; raising awareness by enlisting the support of friends and colleagues; and reducing impact on the environment, especially through the lowering of CO2 emissions.

“Our fish, the people who rely on them and the wider environment are counting on us,” says Sportfish.

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