Scottish wild salmon strategy

Sets out the vision, objectives and priority themes to ensure the protection and recovery of Scottish Atlantic wild salmon populations.

7. Implementation

The Scottish Government will support the implementation of this strategy. However, the vision and objectives cannot be achieved by government alone. Thankfully, there are many examples of strong partnerships already working across public, private, and charitable bodies that serve as a model on which to build. We will establish a cross-government and stakeholder group to advise on and support implementation, with the aim of publishing a detailed implementation plan no later than 12 months from publication of this strategy. We will report on progress regularly as determined by the implementation plan process.

We will also continue to work jointly on areas of common interest with our counterparts in the UK Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

In accordance with duties on Scottish Ministers and public bodies our approach will have due regard to the guiding principles on the environment set out in the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021.

Integrated policymaking

This Strategy, the priorities and the specific actions we will take in its implementation do not exist in isolation. Many existing policies and investments that aim to ensure Scotland plays its full part in responding to the nature and climate crises (e.g. changes to upland management and peatland restoration) will deliver improvements to Scotland’s aquatic environment, which will in turn benefit salmon. Equally, delivery of this strategy will provide wider societal benefits and contribute towards achieving National Outcomes[22] on the environment and helping to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Scotland’s Environment Strategy sets out our long-term strategic ambitions and policy priorities for the environment and provides an overarching framework for all of Scotland's environmental strategies and plans. Within this framework, this strategy will complement and be reflected in the delivery of other plans and strategies such as Scotland’s Land Use Strategy, the Biodiversity Strategy, the Climate Change Plan, River Basin Management Plans, Scotland’s Forestry Strategy, the National Marine Plan and the National Planning Framework.

In addition, this strategy comes at a time of considerable change in the global and national level policy frameworks required to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. This includes the new post-2020 framework for biodiversity to be agreed at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference of Parties (COP) 15 in spring 2022, which will set new goals and targets for the global community. This will provide a key reference point for a new Scottish biodiversity strategy that will be published later in 2022.

The Scottish Government has also committed to introduce a Natural Environment Bill to the Scottish Parliament, which will include targets for nature restoration based on an overarching goal of preventing any further extinctions of wildlife and halting declines by 2030 and making significant progress in restoring Scotland’s natural environment by 2045.

We will respond and adapt to this evolving policy context in our plans for implementation and thereafter through regular review. In the development of future relevant policies – including those highlighted above - we will identify opportunities for supportive actions that will aid the delivery of our ambition for salmon, and to identify where salmon conservation can contribute to the aims and objectives of other policies.

Measuring progress

Measurable sustained improvements in Scottish salmon populations will not be apparent for some years. As part of our implementation plan, we will develop a suite of measures that when considered together will allow us to track progress and evaluate the impact of our interventions. This is likely to use existing data collection and assessment schemes and could include for example: salmon river gradings under the annual conservation regulation assessment bolstered by an extended salmon counter network; status assessments of juvenile salmon stocks (NEPS); the ecological status of rivers through RBMP assessment; site condition monitoring of designated protected areas for salmon; analysis of socio-economic benefit.


The immediate outlook for this strategy is to 2030 in alignment with the timeframe of wider initiatives including the post-2020 biodiversity framework. However, bearing in mind key elements such as the third RBMP cycle runs to 2027 and NASCO Implementation Plans to 2024, we will consider the establishment of intermediate review points to assess progress and to ensure coherence with wider environmental policy frameworks and laws.

Additionally, our understanding of the drivers of salmon population declines may change as new evidence emerges and we must keep these under review and adapt our management response accordingly.



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