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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-18869: Gail Ross (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 18 September 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to assess and tackle decreases in wild salmon stocks.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 25 September 2018

The Scottish Government is working with stakeholders across a range of measures to help conserve our iconic wild salmon. In 2016 we introduced new regulations which, amongst other things, introduced a prohibition on the retention of salmon caught in coastal waters, as well as detailing those rivers where mandatory catch and release of salmon should apply. The conservation status of stocks is reviewed annually.

In March of this year we announced a funding package of £700,000 for wild fisheries. Some £500,000 of this funding is helping Fisheries Management Scotland and its members to deliver a number of projects to help better understand and address the complex range of pressures impacting Scottish salmon stocks. These pressures include predation by birds and seals, barriers to the migration of salmon and wider coastal and marine issues including commercial fisheries and the development of energy projects.

In July we launched a national juvenile electro-fishing project across 27 regions of Scotland. This will provide an estimate of numbers of young salmon across Scottish rivers, while also providing fisheries trusts and boards with valuable information to supplement extensive local surveys, which many have conducted for decades. The aim ultimately is to apply complementary adult and juvenile assessment methods concurrently to set the conservation status of rivers.

We have also launched an independently chaired salmon interactions workstream to provide advice on existing and potential future arrangements to mitigate the high level pressures on wild salmon. An initial working group will look specifically at the issue of interactions between wild and farmed salmon.