Atlantic Salmon in Crisis

The Atlantic salmon is in crisis and needs urgent action to avoid extinction in some rivers in the UK and Ireland

Atlantic salmon, the king of fish, is in crisis, close to extinction in some rivers and in need of urgent action.

The Atlantic salmon has long been revered as the ‘King of Fish’.  Admired for its beauty and strength, it has long captured our imagination and provided food and fishing for centuries. Its economic value is estimated at £100M per year across the UK and Ireland. It is an indicator of high quality water habitat. 

However, this iconic migratory fish, like many others has been in decline for decades in all rivers in the UK and Ireland as a result of pollution, climate change and migration barriers. If urgent action is not taken, it will become extinct in some rivers.

The causes and solutions are well known, but successive governments have not applied the effort to respond to the warning signs or to fulfil their obligations to support the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO).

We are at a crisis point and, identical to the sewage and farming pollution crisis – two of the many causes of salmon decline – it unfortunately requires intensive campaigning to help governments understand the importance, urgency and their obligations.  The salmon’s plight was made better known in the David Attenborough Wild Isles programme about fresh waters on 2 April.

The Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) is today writing to the Fisheries Ministers of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland to ask them what they are doing to prevent the possible extinction of salmon from their rivers, and to reverse the decline.

David Bunt, Chief Executive with the Institute of Fisheries Management said:  

“The iconic Atlantic salmon has been in decline for decades and is close to extinction in some of our rivers.  Solutions to most of the problems already lie in our hands. However, like sewage and agricultural pollution, Governments have not given adequate priority to solve this crisis.  So, we call on them to act urgently to  conserve and restore this king of fish.  Now is the time to act to prevent those inevitable extinctions”.

The IFM’s full position statement can be read below. 

It has also produced a podcast on Atlantic salmon which can be heard here

For more information contact:

David Bunt        Chief Executive Officer         Tel:  07770 793900     email: [email protected]

Notes for Editors

The Institute of Fisheries Management ( promotes, for the benefit of biodiversity and society, the understanding of sustainable fisheries management and aquatic ecosystem protection