Salmon fishing: proposed river gradings for 2023 season

Seeking your views on the proposed river gradings for the 2023 salmon fishing season.


Proposed regulations 

The Conservation of Salmon (Scotland) Regulations 2016, as amended, set out the regime for the regulation of salmon fishing in Scotland. In general terms the regulations: 

  • prohibit the retention of salmon caught in coastal waters; 

  • permit the killing of salmon within inland waters where stocks are above a defined conservation limit – i.e. those rivers accorded category 1 or 2 status for the fishing season; and 

  • require mandatory catch and release of salmon in areas which are below their defined conservation limit following the assessment of salmon stocks – i.e. those rivers accorded category 3 status for the season. 

For the 2023 season, the Scottish Government will bring forward amending regulations which will replace the current Schedule 2. This schedule details the specific inland waters which are subject to the prohibition on retaining salmon. 

No other changes are currently proposed for the 2023 season river gradings. 

However the Scottish Government are also seeking views on what further actions should be encouraged or taken to safeguard wild Atlantic salmon populations. This would include the encouragement of voluntary measures, such as highlighting good practice guidance to promote higher rates of catch and release rates and post-catch survivability. 

River Tweed 

Separate legislation and arrangements are in place for the management of salmon and freshwater fisheries in the River Tweed district. The Tweed Regulation (Salmon Conservation) (No. 2) Order 2016 (“the Tweed No. 2 Order”) came into force on 1 April 2017 and made provision to regulate the taking of salmon in the district. In effect the Order: 

  • prohibits the retention of salmon caught in coastal waters in the Tweed district; and 

  • allows the retention of salmon caught in the Tweed and all inland waters in the district as defined in article 2(1)(a) of the Order. 

The outcome of the conservation assessment for the Tweed for the 2023 season again accords the river Category 1 status. In light of this, the Scottish Government does not propose to amend the legislation as a result of the latest assessment and the Tweed No. 2 Order will remain in force. 

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