We embarked with Pierre Ribeyre, a passionate nature guide, on a visit to the National Conservatory of Wild Salmon in Chanteuges. The largest conservatory in Europe dedicated to this animal and ecological cause! The opportunity to grasp the issues of repopulation and conservation of this mysterious species, capable of crossing the rivers and oceans of the world to feed and reproduce. A visit from which we do not come out unscathed…

The National Wild Salmon Conservatory of Chanteuges

Do you know that a salmon is a 1000 power high level athlete? And that he is carrying out one of the most extreme and grueling migrations in the animal kingdom? But despite its astonishing powers, salmon is on the verge of extinction in many French rivers, even though it is an essential link in biodiversity, the food chain and more broadly, in the cycle of life...

It is in this critical context that the Chanteuges National Wild Salmon Conservatory was created in 2001, to preserve the species and make the general public aware of this ecological and environmental issue.

National Wild Salmon Conservatory of Chanteuges in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

Visit the conservatory for ecological awareness

That's what Pierre Ribeyre evokes and recounts with fervor during the 1h30 visit to the National Conservatory of Wild Salmon in Chanteuges. A visit that we do not see pass: repopulation of the species, salmon conservation issues, mysteries and secrets of its migration, but also, of its evolution over time and according to the currents. Brief. We discover at his side, the essential role of the conservatory of Chanteuges and the thrilling life of the Atlantic salmon. After that, we will never see smoked salmon in the fish counter the same way again…

But far from being moralistic, his speech is mainly made of revelations on the current situation of salmon. Presented with humour, using a subtle composition of science and pedagogy of which only Pierre has the secret, the visit of the National Conservatory of Wild Salmon is conducive to a realization...

Visit of the National Wild Salmon Conservatory of Chanteuges in Haute-Loire, Auvergne
@Sebastien BARRIO

Allier salmon in a few figures

  • 7500: the number of eggs that a female lays at each spawning
  • 750: the number of fry that survive after hatching
  • 75: the number of smolts that reach the ocean
  • 60000 : the number of salmon going up the Loire at the beginning of the 90th century. They are only XNUMX to cross the Vichy dam today.
  • 3000 : out of 120000 smolts counted at Langeac, 60000 arrive in the ocean during their migration and only 3000 will return from their journey to their starting point.
  • 23 : the number of obstacles on the Loire-Allier axis (dams, weirs, nuclear power stations, etc.) that the salmon will have to pass during their migration.
  • 15000 : the number of oocytes laid by a female during spawning
  • : 6 months of migration in the ocean + 6 months upstream upstream (and on an empty stomach please!)
  • 60 : this is the precise number of seconds that the permeability of the membrane of the oocyte lasts to allow fertilization by a sperm! No room for error!
Distribution of wild salmon in France in 1800, 1995 and 2023:

Salmon from the Allier, this hero "with fins of clay"

For the record, the Allier salmon born in fresh water, then migrates to the ocean, in Greenland in the icy waters of the North Pole where it loves to splash around and feed on krill (small crustaceans from cold waters). And finally, he returns to the river, exactly where he was born, in the Haut-Allier spawning grounds, to reproduce in turn.

Allier salmon museum in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

Un journey of several thousand kilometers which is not without danger. Climate change, pollution, hydraulic dams, predation, fishing… Few survive. In 20 years, the Atlantic salmon population has been halved according to the latest studies.

"Let's save the Allier salmon!" » : repopulation, conservation, awareness

It is the workhorse of Chanteuges National Wild Salmon Conservatory with its 3 missions: repopulation, conservation and awareness of the public to ecological issues related to salmon. “We can't let the salmon disappear! claims Pierre Ribeyre. It is the richness of our waterways, the environment and our territory. I don't want this heritage to be lost. I want it to stay and endure, in the hearts of children and their grandparents alike. »

Raising public awareness of ecological issues related to salmon in Haute-Loire

We want to restore a place of honor to salmon in the collective consciousness

Because Pierre Ribeyre's visits are IN-TER-GE-NE-RA-TION-NELLES! As fun as they are interesting, they have real educational and training power for the general public. SO all year by reservation or during the summer months Tuesdays and Thursdays at 15 p.m., and as Saturdays at 10 a.m., if we let ourselves be told the story of the salmon, king of the Allier river, by this great nature enthusiast?

Producing salmon to finance the preservation of the species, a real know-how

To contribute financially to the preservation of this endangered fish, the Chanteuges National Wild Salmon Conservatory started 3 years ago in the production of salmon for restaurateurs in Haute-Loire. Paradoxical? Not really... By reintroducing the Allier strain salmon on the plates, the conservatory presents a more autonomous economic model and perpetuates its conservation activity by relying on his know-how and his knowledge of the species. After the shadow of Auvergne, the conservatory is therefore expanding its offer to Atlantic salmon to the delight of Altiligerian chefs who thus become actors in the preservation of the species.

Contact information

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