Around 6 tons of salmon, trout and eels are produced from Welsh river fisheries each year and angling generates over £105m annually to the Welsh economy. The benefits we derive from ecosystems can be both goods and services: upland rivers contribute to the production of fish and we can benefit from the cultural value of recreational fishing.
While we clearly value our fish, we still know little about how much healthy fish populations depend on river biodiversity. Perhaps more importantly, we cannot really quantify the role of upland streams in sustaining the fish populations that are fished downstream. In DURESS, we have measured the salmon and trout that travel up and down our Welsh streams for two years, to better understand what drives the sustainability of these valuable river organisms. We have also analysed thousands of data gathered over 20 years by the Environment Agency, to identify which combinations of land use, land character and river management have provided the most sustainable fish populations.