Wild Salmon Strategy Science and Evidence Board minutes: May 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the wild salmon strategy science and evidence board on 30 May 223.

Attendees and apologies

  • John Armstrong, Marine Directorate (Chair)
  • Antje Branding, Marine Directorate
  • Stuart Middlemas, Marine Directorate
  • Lyndsay Christie, Marine Directorate 
  • Alan Wells, Fisheries Management Scotland 
  • Colin Bean, NatureScot 
  • Peter Pollard, Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Melanie Smith, Atlantic Salmon Trust
  • Lorraine Hawkins, Dee District Salmon Fishery Board
  • David Summers, Tay District Salmon Fishery Board
  • Chris Todd, St Andrews University


  • Nora Hanson, Marine Directorate 

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

  • JA welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the science and evidence board (SEB) and invited attendees to introduce themselves
  • the core members of the group are representatives of the main bodies involved in the scientific and evidence based management of wild salmon populations in Scotland
  • additional members with relevant expertise (e.g. academics, international colleagues) can be brought in to the group for set pieces of work, if and when necessary
  • the SEB is ultimately answerable to the wild salmon strategy implementation plan delivery group

Draft terms of reference

  • a draft terms of reference (ToR) was shared with the board in advance of the meeting, comments were invited from all members. The ToR was generally agreed with the following points discussed:
  • agreement that meetings will not be recorded in full but concise minutes will be drafted, agreed by the group and published on the Scottish Government website
  • agreement of meeting schedule and that meetings will be in hybrid format, with participation in person encouraged where possible
  • agreement that out with core meetings work will be carried out by sub group meetings (where appropriate) and correspondence and there may be the requirement to work to short deadlines
  • agreement that the role of the SEB is to consider and collate the scientific evidence on a given topic. The evidence will be passed to the delivery group to consider and develop advice based on the evidence. Scottish Ministers will then make decisions based on the evidence and advice presented.  As such the name has been updated from science advisory board to science and evidence board

Scope of Activities

  • a standing item will be added to the agenda to highlight any ‘hot topics’ which will be noted and discussed further if appropriate
  • in preparation of a scottish wild salmon science strategy it will be important to consider the totality of existing strategies and documents to ensure alignment to other workstreams
  • the work of the SEB will fall into four main categories: monitoring and coordinating, assessing the pressures and the knowledge gaps,  managing pressures and finally, hot topics
  • agreement that it is important to keep stakeholders updated on progress and to have consistent messaging across workstreams. The communications plan currently being developed with the delivery group will link to the SEB

Next steps

  • following consideration of priority commissions from the delivery group a short document will be drafted outlining the next steps
  • likely  topics for the group to cover in the first instance: the effect of high temperatures on catch and release and stocking and gene banking 

Hot Topics

  • Saprolegnia issues in Northern rivers possibly causing high mortality. Discussion around the role of the Fish Health Inspectorate and the possibility of a PhD project on this topic
  • gene banking. Short discussion on the complexities of gene banking and how it would work in practice. Will be considered in more detail alongside stocking

Date of Next Meeting

  • next meeting is expected to take place in summer 2023
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