Special fishing reel lands over £70,000 for Atlantic Salmon Trust

A limited edition fishing reel, the first of which was presented to HRH The Prince of Wales, has helped raise more than £70,000 for the conservation of the Atlantic Salmon.

Hardy Alnwick produced a limited edition series of the 148 Hotspur Cascapedia reels to support the conservation efforts of two charities, the Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) and Salmon & Trout Conservation UK (STC UK), raising £45,000.

The money has been split equally between the charities at the bequest of Earl Percy, president of AST, and the Duke of Northumberland, president of STC UK. AST will use the money to further research into why salmon numbers have been dwindling in UK rivers – with 75% fewer returning to their spawning grounds compared to 20 years ago.

Reel 000 of the 150 Hardy Hotspur Cascapedia was presented to AST Patron HRH The Prince of Wales at the AST 50th anniversary gala dinner in May, with His Majesty King Harald V of Norway was presented with reel 002. Reel 001 was auctioned at the dinner for a record £55,000, bringing the Cascapedia total for AST to £77,500.

Sarah Bayley Slater, Executive Director of AST said: “The Atlantic Salmon is often described as the aquatic canary, so sensitive is it to change in the environment – which is why their decline in UK rivers is such a concern.

“Hardy’s gesture is both very welcome and humbling – and came about because of the need to underline just how important Atlantic salmon, sea trout and trout are to our rivers.

“We want to reverse that decline, but first we have to discover why it’s happening. This money is a significant step forward in helping us do that.”

Research has revealed that fewer than five Atlantic salmon return for every 100 spawned in UK rivers. Just 20 years ago, that number was greater than 20. The Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) is hoping to reverse that decline with the Suspects Framework study it announced at its 50th anniversary gala.

Grant Ottignon-Harris is Managing Director of Pure Fishing, which owns Hardy Alnwick. He said: “We are seeing more evidence than ever before that suggests the future of the Atlantic Salmon is in serious jeopardy, for this we felt that it was important to rally our resources to support such an important cause.

Mr Ottignon-Harris added: “This has been a really exciting project and one of multiple success for all concerned. The team here at Hardy, Alnwick had to pull out all the stops to make sure this was a success for the trust whilst matching the high specification requirement and functionality of all of our products. We are delighted that our customers are actually using the reels on the river which is exactly what they were intended for whilst knowing they have supported this initiative.”

For more information about the study, visit the Atlantic Salmon Trust website.

Pictured are, from left:

Al Cross – Head of Trade Marketing and Brand Activation EMEA at Pure Fishing; Robbie Douglas Miller – AST Chairman; Earl Percy – AST President; John Henderson – Pure Fishing sales director for UK and Nordics; Grant Ottignon-Harris – MD of EMEA, Pure Fishing, and Steve Garret – finance director, EMEA Pure Fishing.