Free Range Salmon
Over the last 250 years Europe’s rivers have been subject to the impacts of industrialisation in terms of their flows being managed, impounded, polluted and modified. These impacts are heightened with the advent of climate change altering flow patterns and conditions within the rivers. In essence the flows that connect the rivers and estuaries have become disjointed. This project seeks to re-join all parts of the rivers and their estuaries so that wildlife, in particular salmon, can have free range in and out of these catchments. Salmon have been chosen as they are a shared resource within Europe, crossing boundaries in their migrations and so linking countries together, and are an indicator of the health of the rivers and their estuaries.
This project will aim to quantify the range of barriers to fish migration and understand their impacts. Physical obstructions such as dams; chemical barriers such as pollution; environmental changes linked to climate change and changes caused by development of the rivers will all be considered. This will be achieved through a combination of research and seminars so that information can be exchanged on how fish are using these rivers, the challenges that these barriers represent and how they can be overcome.
Demonstration sites will be developed to look at how the Water Framework Directive can be used to alleviate these barriers in the partner countries, along with the development of a skills and knowledge base to build capacity within the partners’ organisations. The ethos of the project will be to understand and reconnect these rivers whilst working alongside industrial partners so that the different demands on the rivers can be better met.
The salmon is an important resource for growth. The rivers and streams located in rural areas and sport fishing and sport fishing tourism is a major growth area for the project's partners. Hence it is important that conditions are created to enhance and sustain fish resources.
Finally the project will bring together the knowledge resource into catchment fishery management plans so that the environmental benefits of improving the connectivity of rivers and estuaries.