*The recent returns of Atlantic salmon in the Thames are more likely to be a result of fish straying from nearby rivers rather than a consequence of expensive restocking efforts, according to new research by the University of Exeter.*
A team of University of Exeter bio-scientists, in collaboration with the Environment Agency, Westcountry Rivers Trust and Oviedo University, Spain, have been collecting genetic data from returning fish, which suggests that habitat restoration was more effective than re-introductions. The findings will be published in the journal ‘Biological Conservation’.
Lessons from the study could be applied to other rivers across the UK according to the co-author of the paper Dr Jamie Stevens, Associate Professor of Molecular Systematics at the University of Exeter. Dr Stevens says: “Traditionally, people – such as river owners and anglers – have wanted big fish swimming up their rivers. The easiest way to ensure this quickly has been to restock those rivers with exogenous fish (from outside the river system).” (more…)