Celebrating Clyde salmon on World Fish Migration Day

The inaugural World Fish Migration Day took place on Saturday 24th May. We were delighted to participate in this global initiative, the theme of which was ‘connecting rivers, fish and people’. We held ‘Salmon Homecoming’ at the David Livingstone Centre on the banks of the River Clyde. The event was aimed at enthusing people of all ages about migratory fish, with a particular focus on the status of Atlantic salmon in the Clyde. Our celebration consisted of talks, demonstrations of Clyde fish (migratory and non-migratoty) and riverfly species and fish-themed crafts.

Dr Willie Yeomans of the Clyde River Foundation said “The Clyde, a river where salmon were once extinct due to pollution and man-made structural changes, now boasts a recovering salmon population. It’s amazing to think that a fish starting life in the Clyde can make a journey to feeding grounds in north Atlantic off Greenland only to return years later to breed. However there is much more to be done to ensure the continued success of this iconic species and we hope this celebration of Clyde salmon will draw attention to the issues surrounding fish migration as well as highlighting the broader value of healthy rivers for all.”

The Clyde River Foundation, in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage and RWE Innogy UK operate a fish counter on the nearby Blantyre Weir to help monitor the salmon population. A series of video footage of fish passing through the counter was also showcased on the day. Dr Colin Bean of SNH said: “The restoration of the River Clyde as an Atlantic salmon river reflects just how well the system has recovered following decades of industrial pollution. This iconic species is an indicator of ecosystem health, and this is a positive sign for other aquatic animals that rely on good water quality. So whilst there is still much to do within the River Clyde for Atlantic salmon and other migratory species, we are clearly on the right track.

“The installation of a state-of-the-art fish counter on the Blantyre Weir, a partnership project involving SNH, Clyde River Foundation and RWE Innogy UK, has provided information to support the view that the River Clyde could become a significant salmon fishery if improvements in water quality, and fish access, progress.  The World Fish Migration Day gives us the chance to look back at what has been achieved for Atlantic salmon within one of the UK’s most industrialised areas, but also calls on us to focus on the work that remains to be done.”

We’d like to thank everyone who came along to help us celebrate and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event. More pictures can be seen on our Facebook page here.

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