Wild Atlantic salmon are in danger of extinction, the Perth-based expert body that carries out research into the king of fish has warned.
In its annual review of the species, the Atlantic Salmon Trust said some catchment areas of the Dee and Spey were already suffering.
“Numbers of wild Atlantic salmon at sea have declined by more than 60% between 1970 and 2014, and are now extinct in more than 300 North Atlantic seaboard river catchments,” said Tony Andrews, the trust’s chief executive.
“For every wild Atlantic salmon in the sea, there are more than 200 farmed Atlantic salmon in open net cages, ‘sharing’ the same coastal waters.
“Recent scientific research indicates that impacts of parasites, pollution and disease from salmon farming on the coastal environment and wildlife may be far greater than previously assessed.
“Despite international pressure to put an end to mixed stocks drift and coastal netting, and the continuing decline in killing salmon by anglers, the number of wild salmon killed by human exploitation in the bio-region remains too high for a species under pressure of extinction.”