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The Salmon & Trout Association

Salmon & Trout Association
September 23 2011


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.

Charitable Objectives

S&TA's objectives are straightforward:

  • Management and conservation of salmon, trout and all other fish species of UK origin
  • Management and conservation of ecosystems necessary for them to thrive
  • Scientific research to underpin all our work
  •  Education

Scientific Evidence

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:

  • The Importance of Freshwater Wetlands Habitat for Fish
  •  The Effects of Excess Fine Sediment in Rivers.
  •  Reintroducing Beavers into the UK
  •  River and Groundwater Abstraction
  •  The Effect of Endocrine Disruptors on Fish
  •  Access to Rivers and Streams
  • The Importance of Intertidal Habitat to Fish
  •  Impact of Excess Nutrients in Aquatic Systems

All these papers are available on S&TA's web site ( 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:

  • As outlined above, we are pressing for management policies which prevent deterioration in our rivers and stillwaters, the resource upon which all fish depend, and particularly important for the protection of species such as wild brown trout.
  •  In particular, S&TA is pressing for water to be managed more effectively by reducing excessive abstraction land management practices which reduce diffuse pollution and sedimentation, thereby cutting down the amount of nutrients and chemicals which are deposited in rivers and lakes.
  •  S&TA is also lobbying for greater fines to be paid by point source polluters, and for the funds raised to be spent on local river restoration projects.
  •  One of S&TA's main issues is combating non-sustainable Fish farming practices. The Association has appointed an environmental lawyer, Guy Linley-Adams, to lead our Aquaculture Campaign to convince the Scottish Government and fish farming industry to adopt measures which will ensure that salmon farming is genuinely sustainable. The ultimate goal is to bring all units within close containment systems, thereby cutting out any interaction between farmed and wild fish, so halting the impact on wild salmon and sea trout from sea lice infestations and escapee hatchery fish interbreeding with native salmon, thereby destroying gene pools which have evolved since the Ice Age.
  •  Hydropower is supposed to be green renewable energy, but unless schemes are designed correctly at the right sites, it has the potential to severely impact fish by causing barriers to migration and river reaches depleted of water between abstraction and discharge points. S&TA and other fisheries organisations are involved in a complete overhaul of the EA's Best Practice Guidelines to ensure protection for fish and their habitats.
  •  Barriers to migration affect most fish species in rivers, not just salmon and sea trout. Brown trout migrate up river to spawn in head waters and tributaries, and their young move downstream to adult habitat as they grow. Eels and most coarse fish also need to move within river systems, and so any barriers preventing this movement impacts life cycles and limits production. Following extensive lobbying by S&TA and other fisheries organisations, the Fisheries Minister has promised new Fish Passage legislation early in 2012.
  • S&TA hosts the Riverfly Partnership (RP), a collection of angling, fisheries and conservation organisations and individuals dedicated to the protection and restoration of aquatic flies, which form an integral part of the food chain in water. The RP's Anglers Monitoring Initiative runs courses to teach anglers how to identify eight families of invertebrates, and then supports them in forming groups which regularly monitor their local rivers and, therefore, keep a watching brief on water quality. River flies are sensitive to pollution and so a sudden drop in numbers invariably signals a water quality problem, which can then be quickly addressed by the EA, a major partner and funder of the RP.
  •  S&TA supports scientific projects in universities and other scientific organisations, funding projects whose outcomes will help inform policies and management advice that support fish populations and the ecosystems on which they depend.

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

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.

Regional Representative:

Mrs R M Peto

Telephone: 01363 83231

Email: [email protected]

Devon Branch

  Chairman: Lt Col J D V Michie

Tel: 01837 871156

Email: [email protected]


Bristol & West Branch

  Mr R Buckland

Tel: 01225 760465

Email: [email protected]

Hampshire Branch

Mr E P Morgan

Tel: 01730 263843

Email: [email protected]

Wessex Branch Mr D Griffiths

Tel: 01747 871695

Email: [email protected]

Membership from just £2.50 per month!

For further S&TA information Tel: 0207 283 5838 Email: [email protected]