Are stocks of sea trout, well away from the influence of salmon culture, also declining?
The First International Sea Trout Symposium, held in Cardiff, July 2004 (Harris and Milner, 2006) found that stocks were apparently healthy in some regions and countries, but weak in others. In the UK, there has been in a dramatic increase in catch and release of sea trout (and salmon) over the past ten years, helped by a combination of conservation measures, byelaws, voluntary agreements, club rules, incentive schemes and angler awareness. While greatly to be applauded, these measures have complicated interpretation of the national catch statistics in comparison with earlier decades. However, there is a growing concern, based not only on catches but on sightings by experienced observers, that sea trout numbers have fallen to low levels in several areas of the country distant from threats of salmon farming, although not to the extent of the population collapses that have occurred in the north west of Scotland and the west of Ireland.