Pink salmon: an invasive non-native species
The Marine Directorate of the Scottish Government is working with Fisheries Management Scotland (FMS), NatureScot and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to co-ordinate a monitoring programme for invasive non-native pink salmon (‘Oncorhynchus gorbuscha’).
Sightings in Scottish waters
Pink salmon have a two-year lifecycle and most have been recorded, in Scotland, during odd numbered years. A joint opinion piece paper published by the Marine Directorate, NatureScot and FMS discussed the potential impact pink salmon could be having on native species and habitats in Scotland. Following the increase in pink salmon observations the paper highlighted the need for improved monitoring of the species in Scottish rivers.
Pink salmon monitoring using eDNA
The Marine Directorate has since been working with district salmon fishery boards to look at the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) for the monitoring of pink salmon in Scottish rivers. Preliminary data generated to date has allowed us to design a much broader monitoring campaign, which was launched earlier this year.
Water samples were collected from 30 rivers across Scotland, in collaboration with FMS, SEPA and NatureScot. Using eDNA-based approaches, information can now be obtained on the presence and distribution of pink salmon in our rivers, which was previously not possible. This data will help to identify where management, and possible control actions, should be focussed to help combat the increase of this invasive non-native species.
Map of Pink salmon report areas supplied by Fisheries Management Scotland (FMS)
Reporting pink salmon
FMS has produced detailed guidance to help identify and report incidences of pink salmon and view the findings in real time.
If you see a pink salmon, or accidentally catch one while fishing for other species, we are looking for your help to gather as much information as possible.
- if you see a pink salmon report it via the FMS website or reporting tool
- if you catch one, kill it humanely and do not return it to the water
- contact your local District Salmon Fishery Board (DSFB) or Fisheries Trust for advice on what to do next
- invasive non-native species are regulated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended by the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011
- the Non-Native Species Code of Practice for Scotland offers further guidance in relation to the control and handling of invasive species
Tags: Fisheries Management Scotland, invasive non-native species, invasive species, Marine Directorate, marine environment, NatureScot, Pink Salmon, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Government