UK salmon stocks reach unsustainable level

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Salmon shortage: stock levels reach record low amid rising inflation and supply chain issues (Credit: Getty/MonicaNinker)
Salmon shortage: stock levels reach record low amid rising inflation and supply chain issues (Credit: Getty/MonicaNinker)

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Wild Atlantic salmon stocks in the UK are reaching crisis point the Environment Agency (EA) said yesterday (Monday 25 July).

This comes as some pubs have already been forced to swap meat and fish for cheaper cuts amid ongoing pressures from rising inflation ​and supply chain shortages.

Licensee of the Dog at Wingham, Canterbury, Marc Bridgen said: “It’s a nightmare. Every dish is under constant review​, and we’re doing different styles of dishes we've not previously done."

The EA’s latest stock assessment report estimated salmon stocks were at their lowest levels on record, stating a number of factors, including climate change, were impacting numbers at both freshwater and marine sites.

Stabilise stocks

Furthermore, the report also stated salmon stock levels were no longer at a sustainable level as 74% of salmon rivers were thought to be "at risk", an increase from 48% in 2020, with rivers in the south-west, north-west and Wales considered to be the most affected.

EA Deputy director for agriculture, fisheries, and the natural environment Kevin Austin said: “Today’s assessment for England is of great concern and without urgent action Wild Atlantic Salmon could be lost from our rivers in our lifetimes.

“As the climate emergency becomes more acute, we need coordinated action between governments, partners and industry to enable stocks to stabilise and recover to sustainable levels.”

Wider concerns 

However, some licensees felt a salmon shortage would have less impact on the trade than a lack of availability of other meat products.

Frisco Group managing director Heath Ball said: “There are plenty of other dishes pubs can use, it's not like we're losing beef for Sunday roasts, so I'm sure the industry will cope.

“I have wider concerns about salmon farming in Scotland and the negative impact it's having on the environment from the vast amounts of waste it generates and the chemicals that are pumped through the nets to treat the salmon.

“It's time we focused on setting-up land-based salmon farms whilst turning our attention to preserving wild stocks.”

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