Funding to support salmon recovery

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New funding of £500,000 will support the development of wild salmon conservation measures.

The money will be used for two projects, the National Adult Sampling Plan which provides crucial data on wild salmon stock and the development of a standardised fisheries management plan template which can be used by all the fisheries management areas in Scotland.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon announced the funding as part of a speech to international delegates and Scottish stakeholders at the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) annual meeting recently.

It follows the publication of the Scottish Government’s Wild Salmon Strategy which aims to bring the wild salmon population in Scotland back from crisis point.

An implementation plan for the strategy will be introduced by the end of the year.

Mairi Gougeon said: ‘In addition to the measures we will take in Scotland, we are committed to supporting and pushing forward collective action in the international arena, so the young salmon leaving our rivers survive the many challenges they face on the high seas to return to their home river to spawn the next generation.

‘Recently published salmon fishery statistics continue to confirm the downward trend in the numbers of wild salmon returning to Scottish rivers and we must now reinvigorate our collective efforts to ensure a positive future for the species.

‘Although the pattern of decline is repeated across the salmon’s North Atlantic range, with climate change a significant factor, there remains much that we can do in our rivers, lochs and coastal waters to seek to build resilience and transform the fortunes of this iconic fish.

‘Only by acting together, at home and overseas, and applying our collective resource, knowledge and expertise can we hope to change the fortunes of this iconic and vital species.’

Scotland is a stronghold for salmon, which start their lives in streams and rivers, migrate to the high seas to grow and return home to spawn, connecting diverse habitats over a vast area.

Salmon are affected by a wide range of pressures, some at sea, but many others acting within the Scottish freshwater and coastal environments. A key contributory factor appears to be climate change.