Salmon fishing - proposed river gradings 2024: consultation analysis

Analysis report of the Salmon fishing: proposed river gradings for 2024 season consultation, which sought views on the proposed river gradings for the 2024 salmon fishing season.

1. Background

1.1 River gradings

Since 2016 annual stock assessments have informed the Conservation of Salmon Regulations, which aim to protect wild Atlantic salmon populations in rivers where they are most at risk. This is achieved through annually assessing the conservation status of Atlantic salmon stocks across 173 separate inland water assessment areas. These assessments are then used to inform the proposed river gradings for each of these areas in the upcoming salmon fishing season. The Scottish Government seeks views on these proposals annually through public consultation.

The conservation status of each stock is defined by the probability of the stock meeting its conservation limit (CL) over a five-year period. Stocks are allocated to one of three grades, each with its own recommended management actions:

Category 1

At least 80% probability of meeting the CL. Exploitation is sustainable, therefore no additional management action is currently required. This recognises the effectiveness of existing non-statutory local management interventions.

Category 2

Between 60-80% probability of meeting the CL. Management action is necessary to reduce exploitation. Catch and release should be promoted strongly in the first instance. The need for mandatory catch and release will be reviewed annually.

Category 3

Less than 60% probability of meeting the CL. Exploitation is unsustainable therefore management action, including mandatory catch and release (for all methods), is required to reduce exploitation.

In the proposed river gradings for the 2024 season, 112 out of 173 stocks have been assessed to be in poor conservation status. These figures form part of a long-term trend in the decline of salmon populations over the past few decades. An overview of this trend and further information has been provided by Marine Directorate for the purposes of this consultation.

More information on the conservation of salmon can be found on the Scottish Government website.



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