A limited-edition fishing reel, the first of which was presented to Prince Charles, has helped raise more than £70,000 for the conservation of the Atlantic salmon.
Renowned Alnwick brand Hardy produced a limited-edition series of 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 request of Earl Percy, president of AST, and the Duke of Northumberland, president of STC UK.
AST will use the money for further research into why salmon numbers have been dwindling in UK rivers – with 75 per cent fewer returning to their spawning grounds compared to 20 years ago.
As previously reported by the Gazette, reel 000 was presented to AST Patron, the Prince of Wales, at the AST 50th anniversary gala dinner in May, with King Harald V of Norway 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.”
Grant Ottignon-Harris, managing director of Pure Fishing, which owns Hardy, added: “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.
“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 while matching the high specification requirement and functionality of all of our products.”