The Atlantic Salmon Trust, Angling Trust and FishPal have teamed up to produce a series of three ten-minute advisory films called “The Gift” to promote best practice for fishing for salmon. The videos have been warmly welcomed by anglers, with thousands viewing them on You Tube even before the official launch today.
The advice, which is all based on scientific evidence, is aimed to minimise the damage to released fish from angling and includes the right choice of tackle and equipment, how to play and land fish efficiently, and how to handle them in the net. Now that anglers voluntarily release around 80% of the salmon they catch, the aim is to ensure that as many of these fish as possible go on to spawn successfully.
Presented by Andy Ford of Sky Sports fame, and featuring Dr. Ken Whelan from the Atlantic Salmon Trust the films were shot on the famous Bywell beat of the River Tyne by kind permission of Lord & Lady Allendale. Jess England (18) and 77-year-old Tom Robinson both demonstrate how to play, land and handle fish safely, ably assisted by their ghillie.
Mark Cockburn Chief Executive of FishPal said: “We take catch and release seriously as we continue to do our bit to conserve Atlantic salmon for future generations. The Gift is a marvellous example of just how it should be done and FishPal are proud to be part of these educational films. The future of our sport is dependent on everyone doing their bit so our children and their children have the opportunity to fish for the magnificent Atlantic salmon”
Sarah Bayley Slater, Executive Director of Atlantic Salmon Trust said: “ All of the research to date clearly indicates that if properly handled the vast majority of rod caught salmon survive to spawn. In releasing their wild salmon anglers are making an invaluable contribution to salmon conservation.”
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal said: “Regulators throughout the UK are increasingly turning to the imposition of mandatory catch and release in light of declining stocks, but the Angling Trust is recommending a voluntary approach, managed by the angling community ourselves. We need anglers to adopt the best practice in these films, and to spread the word to others, to demonstrate that we are responsible guardians of fisheries.”
Link to The Gift Series:
Key pieces of advice in the film:
• Use barbless hooks whenever possible; • Avoid the use of treble hooks, particularly on Flying ‘C’ lures; • Carry long-nosed forceps with you at all times; • Use a large landing net with small, soft mesh to avoid splitting fins and damaging scales; • Use strong leader material to allow fish to be played firmly and brought to the net rapidly; • Do not lift the fish out of the water if at all possible (other than for a very quick photo); • Never lift a salmon by its tail or gill cover; you will cause damage to its internal organs; • Avoid taking fish onto the bank or dragging them over stones or gravel.
Anne Woodcock FishPal.