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Marine Science

SCOTTISH WILD SALMON STATISTICS SHOW CONTINUING DECLINE

Scottish wild salmon statistics show continuing decline

Scottish wild salmon statistics show continuing decline

Scotland’s Chief Statistician has published the salmon and sea trout fishery statistics for the 2020 season.

Reported rod catch of salmon (45,366) is the third lowest since records began, and 92% of the previous 5-year average. Catches have decreased from a high in 2010 and the 2020 records are consistent with a general pattern of decline in numbers of wild salmon returning to Scotland, although the impact of the coronavirus pandemic complicates comparisons with previous years. Rod effort information shows a decrease in effort during the spring and early summer of 2020, when stay at home orders and travel restrictions were in place, compared to 2019.

Of spring salmon captured by rod, 99% were released, as were 93% of the total rod catch. These are among the highest proportions of catch and release reported since records began.

Trends in rod catch vary among individual stock components.  Reported rod catch of spring salmon has generally declined since records began and, although it seems to have stabilised in recent years, it remains at a low level.  Reported rod catch in later months, generally increased up to 2010.  It fell sharply over the next four years, and has subsequently remained at a low level.

Reported catches for the net and coble fisheries were the second lowest since records began whilst in 2020 no fish were retained from fixed engine fisheries for the first time.  Reported effort for both fisheries were amongst the lowest in the respective time series.

Fish reported as being of farmed origin represented 1.3% of the total catch.  This is an increase from 0.04% in 2019.  The Clyde Coast region accounted for 98% of reports, where almost 49,000 fish were reported to have escaped from a marine salmon farm in August 2020.

Sea Trout

  • Total reported rod catch of sea trout (13,313) is the lowest since records began, and 74% of the previous 5-year average, although the impact of the coronavirus pandemic complicates comparisons with previous years. Sea trout catches have fluctuated around a general trend of decline since the 1960s.

Of reported rod catch, 88% were released, the second highest proportion since records began.

Reported catch and effort for both the fixed engine and net and coble fisheries were amongst the lowest recorded by either fishery since records began.