Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Year of the Salmon looks to solve population riddle

A rod caught male Pink salmon from the North Esk near Montrose.
A rod caught male Pink salmon from the North Esk near Montrose.

Wild salmon populations across the Atlantic are continuing to fall, casting doubt the future of one of Scotland’s most iconic species.

Now experts from across the globe have met in Perthshire to launch the Year of the Salmon – an international campaign that is focused at raising awareness of the serious issues facing the fish.

It comes as the Scottish Government publishes new proposed guidance on salmon stocks on Scottish rivers, advising where fish can be taken home and where mandatory catch and return rules – first introduced in 2016 in an attempt to halt the decline – must remain in force.

Climate change, pollution and fish farming have all been blamed for the falling numbers. A ban on netting salmon has also failed to produce the desired results, with populations continuing to shrink.

Joannes Hansen, North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO), one of the international bodies behind the campaign, said the International Year of the Salmon aimed to foster understanding of the many issues facing the species.

Speaking on a visit to the River Earn, where he met representatives from the Scottish Government, he said: “Each river is unique and each stock in each river is unique, so it’s quite complex, but the least we can do is manage the rivers on a scientific basis and we’re happy to see that’s happening in more and more places across the board.”

Professor Kim Suam, Roseanna Cunningham and Joannes Hansen meet Perthshire anglers to launch the Year of the SalmonEuropean populations of Atlantic salmon have fallen sharply from around eight million in the early 1970s to an estimated three million currently – the lowest levels observed since experts began monitoring stocks. Restrictions are in place on many rivers in Europe.

Salmon catch statistics in Scotland for 2017 were the fourth lowest on record, with the total reported catch 20% lower than average.

Environment secretary, and Perthshire South MSP Roseanna Cunningham, said the Year of the Salmon launch would help manage the problem. She met representatives from NASCO and the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission in Perthshire this week.

“I am delighted to welcome such distinguished visitors to this beautiful part of the country to discuss how important our Atlantic salmon are to Scotland, and to share thoughts on how to address the many challenges they are facing,” she said.

“I am particularly interested to share ideas on how we can work more closely on research and projects to better protect salmon in the marine environment where international co-operation is needed.”

Dr David Summers, fisheries director, Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board, said he welcomed the Year of the Salmon initiative “with open arms.”

“The biggest problem affecting us on the River Earn and in and around the River Tay is that juvenile salmon are going to sea and not coming back,” he said.

“Even 10 years ago there were a lot more salmon and the last few years have been really bad.”

He said he believed warming waters were forcing the fish to travel further north to feed.

“At the end of the day, the issues that are affecting salmon are out on the high seas. If anything can be done it is going to be people coming together from around the whole North Atlantic so this is vital and I welcome it.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in