Disease-hit river remains closed
A fishery on Exmoor’s River Lyn is to remain closed until the end of the 2013 season to safeguard salmon and sea trout stocks.
The Environment Agency closed the Watersmeet and Glenthorne fishery on July 12 after number of fish deaths due to disease.
The action was taken to reduce stress on the surviving fish to ensure as many as possible successfully spawn later this year. The closure is in force until September 30. A similar outbreak occurred on the East Lyn in 2012.
A detailed post mortem examination of a salmon carried out at the agency’s National Fisheries Laboratory proved inconclusive.
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Prolonged dry weather throughout August has meant few fresh fish have entered the river and there is no evidence to suggest the disease situation has improved.
“We still aren’t sure of the cause of the fish deaths, but it is most likely to be due to a combination of factors, including environmental conditions,” said Mike Holland for the Environment Agency.
“As a precaution, we have decided to keep the Watersmeet and Glenthorne fishery closed for the remainder of the season.”
The agency is continuing to monitor fish health and stocks on the River Lyn. Observations by fisheries officers suggest the majority of salmon that entered the river this year have either died or been affected by disease.
Numbers of grilse, salmon returning to spawn after one winter at sea, have been especially low.
However, monitoring of the upper reaches of the Lyn has revealed high numbers of young salmon - fry and parr. It indicates that spawning was successful last year despite the apparent loss of a high proportion of returning adults due to disease.
Mr Holland added: “This is especially good news when you consider the extreme weather last winter and highlights the resilience of wild salmon and the high quality of habitat in the upper river.”
The Watersmeet and Glenthorne fishery, which is managed by the agency, accounts for 80% of fishing on the River Lyn.
Owners of privately-owned fisheries on the river are being encouraged to extend their voluntary closures until the end of the 2013 season. The brown trout fishery will remain open as normal until September 30.