GLOBAL WARMING is being blamed for a frightening decline in the number of salmon entering some of the south’s most famous rivers.

So bad is the fall in numbers on rivers like the Test, Avon and Itchin in Hampshire, that Environment Agency experts are warning the species could be lost altogether if the water temperatures in these venues continues to rise.

The experts are pointing to global warming as the cause, with hotter summers and low rainfall reducing water levels and producing low flows as well as heating the water up.

Although salmon counts recorded automatically at fish passes on the Test and Itchin are up year on year, the long term trend is what is worrying the experts most. They say there must be an annual count of 1,400 fish coming into the Test and 650 into the Itchin to ensure a future for the salmon.

The average over the last ten years is 720 for the Test and 380 for the Itchin and the River Torridge in Devon has also experienced a dramatic decline. At the same time river in the north of England and Scotland are experiencing a boom in catches, with anglers on the Tweed landing more than 15,000 fish, a record by some margin.

For the full story read May’s Southern Angler