Salmon and recreational fisheries

Policy actions  5 of 5

International obligations

As part of Scotland’s international obligations, we collaborate with others through our involvement with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO).

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is an intergovernmental marine science organisation. ICES provides impartial advice on the state and sustainable use of our seas and oceans. This is based on evidence collected across 20 member countries involving over 700 marine institutes and nearly 6,000 scientists.

North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) was established by the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1984. NASCO aims to address a wide range of issues, including management of salmon fisheries by States of Origin, habitat protection and restoration, aquaculture and related activities.


Fishing for eels has generally been prohibited in Scotland since January 2009 under The Freshwater Fish Conservation (Prohibition on Fishing for Eels) (Scotland) Regulations 2008.

In early November 2021 the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) circulated advice on European eels. The view at that time was that the status of European eel remains critical throughout its range. As a result, they advised that there should be zero total catches in 2022. This covers the various life stages of the species, such as glass eels and elvers.

We have no plans to change our long-standing policy that commercial eel fisheries and eel stocking operations should remain prohibited in Scotland.

Some very limited eel fishing is allowed from time to time for scientific purposes and this is managed through our licensing team colleagues at

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