Scottish communities come under pressure as “iconic” national salmon species rapidly declines

Conservation organisations have joined together in Scotland to form the Missing Salmon Alliance in an effort to raise awareness of the “crisis” occurring, as the country’s “iconic nation species” of wild salmon rapidly declines.

With numbers having experienced a “sustained decline” over a number of years, figures released on Wednesday showed that wild salmon catches have plummeted to their lowest level since 1952, putting pressure on rural communities that rely on the industry.

Alan Wells, chief executive of Fisheries Management Scotland, one of the group’s that has formed the Missing Salmon Alliance, called the situation a “crisis point,” calling on the government to act “without delay” and “go much further in all areas where they have the power to make a difference.”

The Missing Salmon Alliance claims that jobs are already being lost in Scotland’s “fragile rural economies,” with potentially more to come. “The Scottish Government recognise in the Wild Salmon Strategy that there is now unequivocal evidence that populations of Atlantic salmon are now at crisis point. An iconic national species is at stake, along with the ecosystems which rely on healthy runs of returning salmon,” Wells said.

“Fragile rural economies which are already struggling because of Covid restrictions and the cost-of-living crisis are facing a further squeeze from a decline in angling income. Jobs have gone. More are now on the line,” Wells stated.

“We know that there is now significant evidence showing that populations of Atlantic salmon across the world are at crisis point, and that we must reinvigorate our collective efforts, both nationally and internationally, to ensure a positive future for the iconic species,” a Scottish government spokesperson said.

“In response, we have worked closely with a range of organisations, including Fisheries Management Scotland, to develop an ambitious new Wild Salmon Strategy. We are currently working with stakeholders to develop an implementation plan for publication by the end of the year which will guide collective action for wild Atlantic salmon across government, business and charitable sectors,” the spokesperson added.


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