Catches of Wild Salmon14: 1952-2012P
The salmon fishing industry is a significant economic and leisure resource in rural Scotland. To protect this resource sustainable management practices are essential. Climate change, water pollution, predation and disease may affect populations. Yearly variations in weather, timing of runs and fishing effort can affect catch sizes. Consequently, a difference in catch does not necessarily indicate a difference in the abundance of the stock that provides the catch.
Catch sizes for the fixed engine and net & coble fisheries have fallen by over 90% since 1952. Catches rose during the 1950s and 1960s but have declined rapidly since the early 1970s. The provisional data published for 2012 indicate that 12,580 wild salmon were reported caught and retained in the fixed engine fishery; a decline from the 13,845 caught in 2011. The net and coble fishery saw another decrease in the number of salmon caught and retained in 2012 to a provisional figure of 3,646, after decreasing from 11,738 to 5,973 between 2010 and 2011.17
Since 1994, salmon that have been caught and released by anglers have been reported separately. There has been a long-term reduction in the number of salmon caught and retained by the rod & line fishery, since a peak of 96,488 in 1988. However, 2010 saw an increase of 36% from the 2009 level to 32,890. In 2011 this fell to a similar level found in 2009 of around 24,000, with provisional data for 2012 indicating another decrease to 22,450. The number of salmon caught and released increased from 6,595 in 1994 to a peak of 78,304 in 2010, but has since fallen to 62,500 in 2012.
The Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 contains provisions for the conservation and sustainable management of salmon fisheries in Scotland. For example, through regulating the introduction of salmon and salmon eggs into salmon fishery districts for which there is a district salmon fishery board, and regulating the permissible methods and times during which fishing is permitted.
Email: Callum Neil