- The total reported rod catch (retained and released) of wild salmon and grilse for 2012 is 86,013. It is the tenth highest on record and is 95% of the previous 5-year average.
- The proportion of the rod catch accounted for by catch and release is the highest recorded. In 2012, 91% of rod caught spring salmon was released, as was 74% of the annual rod catch.
- Trends in rod catch vary among individual stock components. Reported catch of spring salmon had been in general decline over much of the time since records began in 1952, but appears now to have stabilised at historically low levels. Grilse catch has generally increased over the same time period, whereas little overall trend is evident in catches of summer salmon.
- There are also clear differences among geographic regions in the relative strength of the 2012 rod catch. The catches in 5 of the 9 regions are ranked within the top 25% of their respective time series. These regions (East, North East, North, North West and Outer Hebrides) are widely geographically distributed across Scotland. Catches from the Moray Firth and West Coast regions produced the lowest rank values, but no region reported catches in the lowest 25% of their time series.
- Catch and effort for both fixed engine and net & coble fisheries remain at historically low levels. Reported catch in each fishery was 12,584 and 3,646; 5% and 1% of the maximum reported in the respective time series. Fishing effort in these fisheries was 236.5 trap months and 78.5 crew months; the fifth and sixth lowest, respectively, since records began in 1952.
- Salmon and grilse of farmed origin represented 0.3% of the total catch in 2012. Their distribution was highly uneven, the North, North West and West regions accounting for 94% of reports.
- The information presented here is a summary of the data from 1,864 forms returned from 2,018 issued (92% return rate) for the 2012 season. Return rates for the previous 10 years have been between 93% and 96%
Current status of stocks
The total rod catch (retained and released) in 2012 was similar to the previous 5-year average. Taken over the time series since 1952, annual rod catch has increased and is currently at the high end of the observed range. This may be taken as evidence of an increase in the numbers of fish entering fresh water and, given the high levels of reported catch and release, escaping to spawn.
However, the status of stocks on smaller geographical scales ( e.g. among or within catchments) may differ both from each other and also from the overall assessments presented above. The long term decline in the total rod catch of spring salmon suggests that the populations associated with this stock component may be particularly weak although it has stabilised in recent years.
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