When we picture salmon swimming upstream in the River Tamar we may not be fully aware of the fascinating life cycle enjoyed by these Atlantic salmon. Dr. Ann Pulsford gave members a remarkable and colourful account of their life’s journey from their breeding grounds, far upstream, to the North Atlantic Ocean and back again, a distance of some 2,000 miles.
The journey of a salmon
It is a perilous journey with the risk of many predators. For their safety, the salmon use camouflage, stripes when in the river to blend with the gravel, and a silvery appearance at sea. For navigation, they use the earth’s magnetic field together with an olfactory memory enabling them to smell their way home to their original breeding grounds. There the eggs are laid and fertilised and the salmon, their long journey ended, die.
Large salmon are a prize catch. Georgina Ballantine landed a 64lb salmon from the River Tay in 1922 and inspired thousands of women to take up salmon fishing. Conservation measures are critically important and have included the building of a fish ladder at Lopwell Dam, a salmon hatchery at Endsleigh and the cleaning of the gravel beds where the eggs are laid.
David Rippon, on behalf of members, thanked Ann for her most interesting talk spanning many scientific fields. The Probus Club hold their annual club lunch in the Bedford Hotel in July and the subject of the August meeting is “The Battle of Isandlwana”.
Anyone interested in joining the Tavistock Probus club may contact the secretary on 01822 615669. We are always happy to welcome new members.