Pink Salmon On The Dee

August 16, 2017

Pink Salmon

The Dee has had at least nine rod captures of pink salmon – the Pacific salmon species Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, since early July. We have kept a very close watching brief on this and sampled the fish where possible. However, as of last weekend, the situation changed as a large group of 30-40 pink salmon were observed in the lower river and were seen to be cutting redds. Further occurrences of pink salmon cutting redds in other locations in the lower Dee have now become apparent.

The risk that pink salmon pose to our Atlantic salmon is unknown, and Marine Scotland’s Fish Health Inspectorate are sampling any live captures for potential disease risks. As a precaution, we are trialling netting techniques this week to remove these non-native fish. The methods show promise, with a group of pink salmon being removed from the lower Dee on Monday, and when water levels decline we will resume this work.

Surveys of the lower river are also being carried out to identify further locations of pink salmon and their spawning areas. The surveys will be focused downstream of Banchory, as pink salmon remain in the lower parts of rivers. It would assist us if ghillies and anglers could keep a look out for pink salmon or redds in all parts of the river, and inform the River Office of any sightings.

Please also report any captures of pink salmon to the River Office. We are still wanting to carry out disease testing on further fish, so if any captured fish can be held alive we will arrange the testing.

Pink salmon have been found in at least 18 East and West Coast Scottish rivers this year, as well as in some English and Irish rivers. Occasional occurrences of pinks have been reported in Scotland over the last few decades and it is thought that these pink salmon are strays from introduced populations in Russia, or the now-established populations in northern Norway. It is not understood why they have appeared in large numbers this year but it is a national problem with Fisheries Management Scotland leading the concerns of the wild fish sector. Further information can be found in the FMS briefing note .