Fisheries Management Scotland call for urgent Government action as wild salmon crisis deepens.

June 01, 2022

Conservation groups around Scotland have joined forces to call for urgent government action to save the country’s wild salmon stocks and stem rural job losses. Wednesday 1st June will see the release of the official Scottish Government catch statistics. Indications are that these will be the lowest since records began in 1952. They follow years of sustained declines in salmon numbers, affecting rivers across the country.

Everyone who values their local rivers and their iconic wild salmon is being urged to join a national Call to Action, to speed up delivery of critically-important conservation measures.

Dr Alan Wells, Chief Executive of Fisheries Management Scotland said, “The Scottish Government recognise in the Wild Salmon Strategy that there is now unequivocal evidence that populations of Atlantic salmon are now at crisis point. The latest figures underline just how grave the situation has become. We are urging the Government to deliver its existing commitments without delay, and to go much further in all the areas where they have the power to make a difference. And we are asking all members of the public to join that call to action.

“An iconic national species is at stake, along with the ecosystems which rely on healthy runs of returning salmon. And fragile rural economies which are already struggling because of Covid restrictions and the cost-of-living crisis are facing a further squeeze from a decline in angling income. Jobs have gone. More are now on the line.”

Dr Lorraine Hawkins, River Director for the Dee DSFB said, “The national crisis is certainly reflected in the Dee. Two of our tributaries - the Girnock and Baddoch - which have been monitored longer than most in Scotland, have recorded especially low numbers of returning adult salmon. They underline a trend of worrying declines across the country and highlight the case for immediate action at all levels.

“We have started urgent discussions with the Scottish Government about the latest evidence, and continue to urge the wider public to press for action to safeguard our precious salmon."

Note.

Fisheries Management Scotland is the representative body for Scotland’s network of District Salmon Fishery Boards (DSFBs), the River Tweed Commission and Rivers and Fisheries Trusts. We work to promote and ensure the protection, preservation, and development of Scotland’s wild salmon and freshwater fish, along with their fisheries and the wider environment on which they rely. Fisheries Management Scotland contribute to a wide range of workstreams and working groups covering a range of pressures faced by our iconic Atlantic salmon and sea trout.

Fisheries Management Scotland is a member of the Missing Salmon Alliance - a collaboration between passionate groups of conservationists including the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Angling Trust, Atlantic Salmon Trust, The Rivers Trust and Fisheries Management Scotland. By combining resources, coordinating activities, sharing research, and advocating effective, evidence-based solutions we can help wild Atlantic salmon survive and thrive in our waters for generations to come.

The official catch statistics will be published on Wednesday 1st June.

Declining rod catches have a knock-on effect on fragile rural economies and reduce the ability of managers to raise money to support management and restoration activities. The most recent Scotland-wide economic impact assessment of wild fisheries indicated around £135m of angler expenditure, 4,300 full-time equivalent jobs and £79.9m Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2014 – the monetary value of the contribution to the economy made by an industry.

Learn more about Our Wild Salmon and the current crisis in our film series.