Marine Scotland has recently released the Scotland-wide 2021 Salmon and Sea Trout fishery statistics which makes for concerning reading. In 2021 35,693 salmon and 12,636 sea trout were caught on Scotland’s rivers – the lowest catch since records began in 1952.
Whilst lower rod effort, due to coronavirus restrictions in place in early 2021, might explain a slight reduction in salmon caught, the recent and continued downward trend indicates that the Atlantic salmon is a species in crisis.
In response, Fisheries Management Scotland (FMS) has launched an urgent “Call to Action”, outlining several critical conservation steps (see in detail below) that must be taken to help stop and in time reverse the decline.
We are proud to have worked with FMS to create this Call to Action and join FMS and all fishery boards in demanding that the Scottish Government take decisive action before it is too late.
We are calling on decision-makers to conserve and restore our cherished wild salmon by supporting the Call to Action and delivering the critically-important conservation measures outlined below:
Our Wild Salmon – Call to Action
- Acting immediately to deliver the crucial commitments in the Scottish Wild Salmon Strategy. Ensuring that Scotland’s regulatory authorities have the resources, incentives and direction to accelerate efforts to ensure the protection of Scotland’s water environment, giving salmon free access to cold, clean water.
- Reforming urgently the Forestry Grants Scheme, to encourage and incentivise riverside planting of native trees to provide shade and help cool our rivers in the face of climate change.
- Acting now, to introduce effective regulation of the fish farming industry which protects wild salmon and sea trout.
- Ensure that the regulation of hydro-electricity is reviewed to ensure that all life stages of our wild salmon have free-access to habitat and sufficient water to access it.
- Delivering, without delay, on the pledge to review the policy on fish-eating birds to protect Atlantic salmon – a nationally-important species in crisis.
- Accelerating delivery of effective methods of preventing specialist seals from entering rivers and killing salmon.
- Moving quickly to ensure that adequate funding is in place to support catchment-scale habitat restoration which benefits our rivers, to give our young salmon the best possible immediate and long-term chances of surviving the challenges they face at sea.
- Reforming the law governing Scotland’s salmon fisheries to make enforcement more effective, with penalties in line with the significant environmental damage caused.
What are we doing?
We live in uncertain times. What is clear is that the Spey Fishery Board will continue to use all the resources at our disposal to safeguard the Atlantic salmon population within the Spey Catchment.
In response to Scotland’s recently published Wild Salmon Strategy and the above Call to Action, we are in the process of launching a new Spey Fishery Board Strategy & Management Plan 2022. Please keep an eye out on our social media channels and website for this announcement.
In addition, we are refocusing our fundraising efforts and are planning on using additional funds to increase our impact across the River Spey, its tributaries and wider catchment.
You can now make a donation directly on our website. We appreciate all support received.
What can you do?
There are lots of ways in which you can get involved in helping to protect and conserve our wild salmon. Here are some ideas:
- Talk to your MSP face to face.
- Write to your constituency and regional MSPs using this online tool – https://www.writetothem.com/
- Support River Spey conservation work, carried out by the Spey Fishery Board, by making a donation online.
- Use social media to raise awareness of the crisis facing Atlantic salmon. The easiest way to do this is to follow our channels and reshare our content with your followers/friends.
For more information and details about how you can help, please see “How to take action” within the Call to Action.