Atlantic salmon extinct ‘within six years’ on top UK river
Protected Atlantic salmon could be extinct within six years on one of the UK’s most revered waterways.
That is the warning from the River Wye Salmon Association which blames pollution for the lowest catch numbers ever recorded since records began in 1956. It is now calling on radical scientific action to help save the idolised species.
The BBC news website reports that earlier this year the status of the River Wye was downgraded to ‘unfavourably declining’ by Natural England, the government’s adviser for the natural environment in the country.
It adds that both the Wye and River Lugg, which runs into it, are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which should ensure the highest environmental protection.
Campaigners believe that intensive farming and sewage pollution have caused algal blooms which deprive wildlife of oxygen. Stuart Smith, Chairman of the Wye Salmon Association, told the BBC: “Based on current numbers we are a mere five or six years away from the total extinction of salmon.
“Forget more research, what we need are urgent solutions and we need them now. A six-month delay could be too late.
Campaign groups, including Save The Wye, have held street and river protests calling for more action. Two months ago a judge granted a judicial review into the way the Environment Agency – the body tasked with protection and improvement of the environment in the UK – enforces agricultural pollution laws following a legal bid by River Action.
In May, former Environment Secretary, Thérèse Coffey, met farmers and councillors to discuss the declining state of the River Wye.