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28.04.06
Return of the Salmon to the River Fal in Cornwall

With the conclusion of the highly successful, four year long Cornwall Rivers Project, the Westcountry Rivers Trust is delighted to report that salmon have returned to locations in the River Fal and its tributaries for the first time in over 25 years!

The South West office of the Environment Agency has published its Fal Catchment Fisheries Survey Report 2005 which has been compiled as a result of an extensive electro-fishing research and monitoring study. This has revealed the best densities of salmon fry since records began with four sites containing salmon juveniles for the first time since 1980.

Through the Cornwall Rivers Project, which has received Objective One investment, the Trust offered free land management advice to farmers and riparian owners and grants for river improvements throughout 15 catchments in Cornwall, including the Fal. The work focussed on the reduction of diffuse pollution and the siltation in watercourses through the erection of livestock fencing, and the important incorporation of formalised drinking points. The aim was to ensure the protection of the spawning gravels of salmon and trout, which are vulnerable to clogging by soil on the riverbed, and to improve the general water quality.

Atlantic salmon are species of significant conservation importance and they require rivers in near pristine condition from source to sea for their survival. It is hoped that the recolonisation of the Fal reflects a marked improvement in the health of the river system. This underlying improvement should have a significant economic impact in attracting anglers to the region, which in turn contributes to Cornwall's tourist trade.

Dr Dylan Bright, Director of the Westcountry Rivers Trust commented: "Historically, Fal Salmon were considered to be amongst the finest in the country, and they used to run the river in their hundreds. A few salmon have returned, spawned and survived in the river and we hope that many more will come in the future, restoring the Fal to its former glory."

Dr Bright went on to give credit to the Cornwall Rivers Project which he felt had made a significant contribution to the rehabilitation of the Atlantic salmon; this was endorsed by Simon Toms, Fisheries, Recreation and Biodiversity Team Leader for the Environment Agency. The CRP project work was supported by the Cornwall Environment Agency and it was hoped that this joint effort had 'spawned' salmon for the future, and clean rivers for many generations to come.

The Westcountry Rivers Trust remains dedicated to protecting and preserving threatened species and habitats, and maintaining healthy riparian systems. For further information about the Trust, its Angling 2000 scheme and for membership details please contact the Westcountry Rivers Trust at: 10 Exeter Street, Launceston, PL15 9EQ. Telephone: 08707 740704, www.wrt.org.uk or www.cornwallriversproject.org.uk, email: wrt@wrt.org.uk.

For further information please contact Gillian Dixon, Project Manager on 08707 740704 or email wrt@wrt.org.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Cornwall Rivers Project through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and land based industries project is advised to speak with Martin Butler, at Government Office South West on 01752 635015 before commencing development as there are now only limited funds available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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