Salmon and sea trout fishery statistics are obtained from returns made in response to an annual questionnaire sent to the proprietors or occupiers of salmon and sea trout fisheries under the provisions of section 64 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003.
For the purposes of these statistics, data are combined geographically into 109 Districts which are further aggregated into 11 Regions. Districts correspond either to a single river catchment together with adjacent coast or to groups of neighbouring river catchments and associated coastline. Data are also collated by fishing method.
All Scottish salmon and sea trout fisheries fall into one of three broad categories: Fixed Engine fisheries, which are restricted to the coast and must be set outside estuary limits, net & Coble fisheries, which generally operate in estuaries and the lower reaches of rivers and rod and line fisheries, which comprise recreational angling activities and generally take place within rivers.
Currently each fishery is required to provide the numbers and total weights of both wild and farmed salmon and grilse, as well as sea trout, caught and retained in each month of the fishing season. In addition, rod & line fisheries are currently required to provide the monthly numbers and total weights of those salmon, grilse and sea trout that were legally caught then released back into the river (catch & release). Data are published as reported. Net fisheries are also currently required to provide monthly fishing effort data. The number and weight of sea trout caught and retained by both net and rod fisheries have also been collected throughout the time series. Reported data are verified against a series of checks including missing information, catches reported outwith the legal fishing season and mean weights outwith predefined limits. Where necessary, the data are referred back to the person completing the questionnaire for clarification. The information published, however, is the summation of the reported data. Since September 2011, salmon and sea trout fishery data have been published as Scottish Government Official Statistics.
Salmon and sea trout fishery statistics together with an assessment of stock status for the most recent season available are provided in topic sheets 68 and 69 respectively. More recent provisional data may also be available in topic sheets 94 and 95.
The salmon and sea trout fishery statistics underpin much of the advice which Marine Scotland Science provides to the Scottish Government and to international clients such as the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO).