Online Event: Talking Chalkstream Salmon

7 August 2023


The Missing Salmon Alliance (MSA) has invited the public to join them for an evening in conversation with key UK conservationists to talk about the situation facing our UK chalk streams and the species and biodiversity within these environments.

With speakers including Dylan Roberts (GWCT / SAMARCH project), Stuart Singleton-White (Angling Trust), Penny Gane (Fish Legal), the online event will take place on Tuesday 8th August 2023 from 6pm-7pm. Guests will hear from each speaker before being invited to take part in a short Q&A session.

Chalk streams are among the most biodiverse of the UK’s rivers. 85% of the world’s chalk streams are found in England, from Dorset across the Southeast, East, and up to Yorkshire and they represent one of the UK’s most important contributions to global biodiversity. These clear-watered streams are a valuable habitat for Atlantic salmon as well as sea trout, grayling and lamprey, for otters, water voles, and kingfishers, for rare invertebrates such as the winterbourne stonefly, and plants like stream water crowfoot.

The MSA are advocating for the protection of salmon within freshwater, marine and coastal environments, and for the improvement of water quality, quantity, and improved habitats to reduce losses of the species, many of them unique to chalk streams. The Missing Salmon Alliance is working at every level on our iconic chalk streams.

Dylan Roberts, Head of Fisheries at MSA member, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, who run a Salmon and Trout Research Centre of the banks of the River Frome chalk stream in Dorset said “We are now seeing first-hand the damage the changing climate is doing to iconic fish like the Atlantic salmon. In 2021 we published a scientific paper investigating the causes of a crash in the numbers of juvenile salmon in the River Frome in 2016. We concluded that it was the high winter water temperatures and dry cool spring. These problems are exacerbated in light of the huge pressures we are now putting on chalk streams. Urgent action is needed to ensure chalk streams are recognised and protected as the rare and precious habitats they are.”

The CaBa Chalk Stream Restoration Group launched its first Chalk Stream Strategy in 2021, calling for chalk streams in England to be given enhanced environmental status. The strategy was built around the “trinity of ecological health”: water quantity, water quality and habitat quality and included 30+ action recommendations to Defra, the Environment Agency, Natural England, the water companies, NGOs and stakeholders, to rescue our globally important chalk streams and restore them to a near natural state.

The MSA recognise that if delivered appropriately, the principles set out in the 2021 Chalkstream Strategy will see a positive effect, but they are urging those involved to keep the pressure on and not allow either the regulators or the water companies to row back on their commitments.

This online event aims to draw attention to the challenges our chalk streams, and the biodiversity within them, are facing and ensure that action is taken. Panellists will shed light on the work taking place in these environments from the practical work on rivers, to legal pursuits, scientific research being carried out, and the advocacy taking place for governmental, regulatory, and policy change.

Register free here:


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