Tony Andrews, Melfort Campbell and Ken Whelan of the Atlantic Salmon Trust will be joining 130 salmon scientists and fishery managers from Europe and North America in La Rochelle, France, next week (11th -13th October) for a 'Salmon Summit'.

The Summit will give the scientists involved in the SALSEA-Merge project an opportunity to unveil the results of several years of research, and provide some of the answers for why we're seeing worryingly high mortality of Atlantic salmon at sea.

The SALSEA-Merge project has used new technologies to track salmon during their ocean migrations. Pre-existing and ongoing work on salmon genetics has allowed the researchers to understand migration patterns on a regional and even local basis, giving us an unprecedented level of understanding of what happens to fish as they migrate, as they feed and as the survivors return to their natal rivers.

The increased understanding of what's happening to salmon at sea, how the marine environment is altering, and how climate change is impacting marine ecosystems, will allow fishery managers to take these developments in to account.

'High levels of salmon mortality at sea, and the contrast between multi sea-winter salmon in prime condition feeding in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean and "skinny grilse" from the eastern sector, has been something of a mystery up until now,' said AST Chief Executive Tony Andrews. 'The Salmon Summit is a unique opportunity for scientists, managers and decision-makers from both sides of the Atlantic to learn about new data emerging from SALSEA. The project's innovative approach to exploring Atlantic salmon in the context of the physical variables and interactions with other species in the ocean has enabled scientists to see the salmon as a member of the 'pelagic family', and to identify the possible implications for fisheries management. The fact that this is an international gathering should enable the lessons learned from SALSEA to be applied to improving the effectiveness of management throughout the range of the Atlantic salmon, and we hope will also lead to new approaches to improving the survival of salmon at sea.'

AST's Research Director, Professor Ken Whelan, is an invited speaker at the Summit, and will deliver a paper entitled The SALSEA Programme - Unravelling the Life of the Atlantic Salmon at Sea.

In December, AST's Ocean Silver conference, being held in London, will give SALSEA's lead scientists an opportunity to outline their research, and discuss the practical measures that fishery managers may develop as a result of the new data. The conference has already attracted nearly 100 participants, including scientists, managers, owners, government and non-government officials, specialists and anglers, all of whom share an interest in the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon. 'Ocean Silver' will take the outcomes of the Salmon Summit a step further, towards practical measures so badly needed to ensure the survival of this iconic species. Anyone with an interest in the macro environment should have an interest in the salmon, as arguably the best of all oceanic and terrestrial indicator species. This conference is for everyone with an interest in the oceanic environment, and there are still places available - for the full programme and a booking form, click here.