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GWR Sustainability

The Sustainability of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L.) in the South West of England: a study on the river Exe

Salmonid stocks are known to be important economically, and as such there is a lot of research carried out looking at their biology. However, sustainability should be considered under 3 themes: social, economic and environmental (or biological in this case).

This PhD project is being funded through a Great Western Research Sustainability grant and Tamar consultancy.  The main focus is a case study on the River Exe as described below.

To establish the sustainability of Atlantic Salmon in the South West, the River Exe is being used as a case study. For the purpose of informing management decisions, population structure, effective population size and hatchery effectiveness will be assessed using microsatellit markers.  This information is vital to effectively manage the system from a biological viewpoint.  Anglers will be surveyed through questionnaires to ascertain their opinions on management practices and scientific research.  All results will be presented to stakeholders to allow them to make informed management decisions considering sociological as well as biological information.  For example, if the salmon stocks have no socio-economic value, will it be worth restoring the population? Is the population biologically sustainable or does it need to be managed? What would be the best way to manage it?

Approaching sustainability in this multi-disciplinary way will ensure a greater understanding of the many factors influencing salmon population(s) on the river Exe.

  • Ellis, J.S., Sumner K.J., Griffiths, A.M., Bright, D.I. and Stevens, J.R. (2011) Population genetic structure of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., in the River Tamar, southwest England.  Fisheries Management and Ecology, 18: 233–245.
  • Durrant, C.J., Stevens, J.R., Hogstrand, C. and Bury, N.R. (2011) The effect of metal pollution on the population genetic structure of brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) residing in the River Hayle, Cornwall, UK.  Environmental Pollution, 159: 3595-3603.


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