by Caitlin Douglas,
Salmon stocks appear to be booming this year. Almost all of the rivers surveyed show increased salmon numbers which allows for cautious optimism over the future health of salmon populations.
Recreational anglers, in the UK, form a unique section of the public in that, in some areas, they also manage the section of the river where they own or rent the fishing rights. Anglers, therefore differ from the general public who typically have no direct involvement in environmental management. The level of management is dependent on numerous factors such as environmental conditions, club finances, and the attitudes of members; but actions include stocking fish, culling predators, dredging channels, stabilising banks and removing vegetation.
A recent study in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers investigates recreational anglers in the UK, and specifically the relationships between attitudes regarding environmental change and management. They found that anglers hold a diverse range of attitudes, and suggest that the more people engage with the environment the more diverse and deeply held their opinions become. It was further suggested that anglers should be regarded as ‘lay environmental managers’ rather than lay public when investigating attitudes towards the environment and environmental change. An interesting question is whether the stewardship activities of recreational anglers played any role in this year’s increased salmon run.
Eden, Sally and Bear, Christopher (2011). Models of equilibrium, natural agency and environmental change: lay ecologies in UK recreational angling. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 36(3): 393-407.
McKie, Robin. Salmon numbers leap to reverse two decades of decline in UK rivers. The Observer. 26 June 2011.
Record salmon count for River Tyne. BBC News. 26 June 2011.