Here’s a link to Youtube videos from all of the speakers at the IBIS stocking conference held in Glasgow a couple of years ago. We’ve added this link as there are always calls for increased hatchery operations as we see declines in wild salmon stocks here on the Ayr, across Ayrshire, the rest of Scotland and the UK. Understanding why scientists generally urge caution before adopting a hatchery approach while anglers seem to favour this is essential but any Board acting responsibly and in the best interest of their river and wild salmon stocks must balance these arguments and make decisions based on the best available information at the time. Simply doing something on a hunch without considering the evidence may be seen as a flawed and perhaps even a reckless approach. Stocking can in certain circumstances increase the number of adults returning to a river but at what cost? Will our wild salmon benefit from stocking? Will stocking ultimately lead to a decline in wild salmon within the catchment? Are there any better actions that we can do to improve our stock of wild salmon within the rivers? These are all important questions and the answers must be considered carefully before taking the decision to stock. Similarly, the cost of such activity should be taken into account at a time when fewer anglers are fishing the river and the burden of running the Board and any hatchery operation falls on ever diminishing club members and syndicates. These are issues we can’t ignore.
These videos show the speakers delivering their presentations and the discussions that followed. Pull up a chair and spend a few hours listening to these presentation and debates that followed. They are all worth a watch https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpn9VB6Xq8Kj3s_5fn4SUAw
As an angler and scientist, I particularly appreciated the presentation by Kyle Young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KjsiPTTUac that explored the debate on stocking in relatively simple and easy to understand terms and his alternative suggestion made in the final conference summary video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DJ77CDclcc (go to 16.00 minutes on the timeline) to increase stocks in catchments where there remains viable salmon populations without the need for expensive and potentially damaging stocking intervention. At the board meeting on the 5th July, it was agreed that Ayrshire Rivers Trust and the Ayr Board will discuss the options for future stocking requirement once this years electrofishing data is available to ensure we know exactly what the current stock of the river is before making decisions.