Fly Fishers' Republic

Climate Change

January 5, 2007

by Raif Killips

Angling Art

This year has seen lots of news articles here in the UK, covering early blooms of flowers and other out of season events. Climate change it seems is going to affect all kinds of organisms in the natural world and in all kinds of ways: Many species of birds and butterflies are appearing on UK soil as they’re carried by warmer air masses, and the arrival of many beautiful creatures is in some ways a joy, but perhaps we should in fact be concerned, even alarmed, by these visitors. They’re the signifiers after all of something rather less welcome.

When your daffodils die back because of frost damage, that’s hardly a disaster. When young salmon start running to sea too early that’s another matter entirely. Well, that’s just what happening in Ireland according to an article I just read on the BBC’s website. As the winters get progressively warmer juvenile salmon are running early:

Irish salmon stocks are being hit by the effects of climate change with scientists on the river Bush in north Antrim discovering warmer winters are triggering a false start to the annual migration with disastrous consequences….Usually around a third of the young fish which leave the river Bush survive to return here the following year to spawn. But now with warmer winters triggering a false start to the migration, only six in every 100 salmon make it back here to breed. And that’s not the only problem facing the river Bush. Climate change is also hitting the salmon in another way Read more ยป

Wild salmon stocks already have to struggle with over fishing, pollution, and predation by birds, seals, fish, lice, and people, but now they have to bear this new demon. Maybe recycling my van will help, and maybe using public transport will help – in the long run, but what of the here and now? Is it too late?