The value of a salmon varies according to who catches it.
To a kingfisher or goosander a young salmon is a tasty meal. To a poacher or commercial netsman it is up to £15 per lb. To the rural economy each one caught on rod and line is worth over £4,000, whilst to a fishery’s capital value it is worth around £12,000 per fish caught each year, whether kept or released. To someone caught with an illegally taken fish it is worth minus £1,000!
But to those concerned with restoring a depleted salmon run, a fish left in the river to breed is priceless. With this mind, what has the Foundation done to conserve and increase the number of adult salmon left in the river to reproduce?
In the Estuary: Averaged over the last decade, over 2,000 salmon per year will be freed to spawn the Wye & Usk rivers but in all probability, many more than that. For the first time since Roman times salmon have free access beyond the estuary nets and traps.
On the Wye: Although voluntary catch and release rates rose from 7% in 1996, to over 70% in 2010, this was not enough to stave off a bylaw which was introduced in June 2012. The Wye’s recovery will no longer be held back by legal exploitation.
On the Usk: Following a controversial consultation carried out by Natural Resources Wales, mandatory catch and release was inroduced in 2020.
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