The Scottish government has launched what it describes as an ‘ambitious strategy’ that aims ‘to bring the wild salmon population in Scotland back from crisis point’.
The strategy highlights five priority themes for action: improving the condition of rivers; managing exploitation, including the effectiveness of deterrents to poachers; understanding and mitigating the pressures that salmon face in the marine and coastal environment; international collaboration; and developing a modernised policy framework.
Each theme is matched with a range of measures that ‘will combine to address the many challenges salmon face in their lifecycle’, says the announcement. The strategy also signals an increase in efforts to build the resilience of salmon stocks through partnership working across public, private and civil society groups.
Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “I am grateful to the many organisations that have contributed to development of this important and ground-breaking strategy for wild salmon in Scotland.
“There is now significant evidence showing that populations of Atlantic salmon are at crisis point, 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.
“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.
“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.”
The full Scottish Wild Salmon Strategy can be read here.
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