The Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) was established in 1903 to address the damage done to our rivers by the polluting effects of the Industrial Revolution. For 108 years, the Association has worked to protect fisheries, fish stocks and the wider aquatic environment on behalf of game angling and fisheries. In 2008, the Association was granted charitable status, primarily because it was able to show that its work had historically been for a much wider benefit than just its immediate membership. S&TA’s charitable objectives empower it to address all issues affecting fish and the aquatic environment, supported by robust scientific evidence from its scientific network. Its charitable status enables it to take the widest possible remit in protecting fish stocks and the aquatic environment upon which they depend.
S&TA's objectives are straightforward:
The Association draws together scientific evidence and develops it into balanced policies aimed at protecting salmon, trout and sea trout and their natural ecosystems. For example, the Association’s policy on fish farming stems from its review of 137 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Similar reviews of published scientific research has included:
All these papers are available on S&TA's web site (www.salmon-trout.org) under 'Our Work.' This scientific evidence is crucial within modern influencing strategies. Gone are the days when single interest groups could hope to force through policies by strength of numbers, even if those numbers were impressive which, sadly, angling representative bodies never have been. It was always too easy in the past for decision makers to say that ,'you are a bunch of anglers, so you would say that, wouldn't you?' But now, operating within charitable objectives, which have to be in the public interest, and supporting arguments with dossiers of scientific evidence on issues under discussion, it is far more difficult for decision makers to be dismissive.
The Association has an established track record of working with Government departments and agencies and, wherever relevant, with other fisheries and environmental NGOs. For example, S&TA was elected a full member of Wildlife and Countryside Link, the umbrella group for the UK's leading environmental organisations, in 2009, and is an active participant in Link’s Water Group, particularly as the Vice Chair is now the Association's Head of Science, Janina Gray. Recently, the Blueprint for Water, a ten point ask over the management and protection of water and the aquatic environment, was revamped and re-launched by Link for the new Government, and Janina led on drafting two of the asks; Keep Pollutants out of our Rivers and Restore Rivers from Source to Sea.
This was a considerable step forward for fisheries generally and S&TA in particular, within such an august conservation grouping and has the support of some eight million members, far greater than angling could ever hope to muster on its own behalf. S&TA has taken this partnership approach a stage further by announcing a close working collaboration with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), a charity with a strong fisheries scientific department based at a unique laboratory infrastructure on the River Frome in Dorset (see article on page 119). GWCT also has an experimental 2,000 acre farm at Loddington in Leicestershire, which is undertaking tremendous work in seeking to find solutions to the impact of agricultural practices on river and lake systems, which could be crucially important to delivery of measures designed to achieve good ecological status in our waterways under the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD).
Looking to the future
Never has there been more pressure on our freshwater and marine environments. In a recent assessment of our rivers by the Environment Agency, less than 30% were of good ecological status. Many wild fish stocks have declined alarmingly since the 1980s and some invertebrate populations - the food for fish and bird life and an indicator of the health of aquatic habitats - have collapsed by as much as 70% in some areas. There are numerous organisations that focus on conservation. However, S&TA stands alone as a national campaigning charity focusing on these issues from a fisheries viewpoint. It is vital that the Association makes its voice heard if we are to raise the status of fisheries within the wider environmental field, by using fish species and their habitat as the logical natural indicator to the health of the aquatic environment. Our work is vital for the future health of wild brown trout, sea trout and salmon stocks, but is also relevant to all other freshwater species in the UK. Major issues, which are set to run for a while at least, include:
S&TA also runs an extensive education programme which concentrates both on teaching people, particularly the young, how to fish, but also the importance of healthy rivers to communities. A recent pilot scheme in three Cumbrian primary schools was so successful that the Association is currently looking to fund a major roll-out of a similar scheme across the UK. So, S&TA has a varied brief within its charitable objectives, all aimed at protecting fish stocks and the aquatic environment, supporting policies with high quality science and educating the next generation as to the vital importance of this work. No other sector of society invests so much time and funding in managing and conserving our rivers and stillwaters than do anglers and fishery managers, and the Association therefore believes its activities have public interest at heart, far beyond the interests merely of its members, regardless of the fact that they will benefit from its successes. That is truly enlightened self interest at work!
Why not Join S&TA?
Find out more at www.salmon-trout.org
The Salmon & Trout Association
Game anglers influencing national decision makers over the management and protection of salmon, trout and sea trout, the conservation of water and the diverse environments upon which all aquatic life depends.
Mrs R M Peto
Telephone: 01363 83231
Email: [email protected]
Chairman: Lt Col J D V Michie
Tel: 01837 871156
Bristol & West Branch
Mr R Buckland
Tel: 01225 760465
Mr E P Morgan
Tel: 01730 263843
Wessex Branch Mr D Griffiths
Tel: 01747 871695
Membership from just £2.50 per month!
For further S&TA information Tel: 0207 283 5838 Email: [email protected]