Funding announced to support protection and restoration of wild salmon
On 7 September 2023, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, visited the Outer Hebrides to announce over £500,000 in funding to support the protection and recovery of wild salmon populations.
The award will be used by District Salmon Fishery Boards and Fisheries and Rivers Trusts across Scotland to carry out monitoring of adult salmon populations and the sampling of juveniles through the National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland (NEPS). Additionally, it will allow an assessment of interbreeding of wild and escaped farmed salmon through the National Introgression Programme for Scotland (NIPS).
Scotland’s Wild Salmon Strategy and Implementation Plan set out our commitment to protect and restore wild salmon populations, which are in decline. The funding will support the commitment to have a coordinated approach to monitoring wild salmon populations, building on our existing evidence base.
The Cabinet Secretary visited the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust to observe electrofishing, used to survey fish populations, in action. The Cabinet Secretary said:
“I am delighted to announce a funding package of £500,000 to support wild salmon monitoring in Scotland. It is an example of our commitment to this iconic species, as set out in the Wild Salmon Strategy Implementation Plan which we published earlier this year.
“I am grateful for all the work carried out by District Salmon Fishery Boards and Trusts in support of wild salmon conservation, and it has been great to have the opportunity to see monitoring in action today with the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust”
Paul Hopper, Senior Biologist, at the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust said:
“The Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust are delighted to be part of the effort delivering the NEPS project. The design of NEPS means that the trust can visit often overlooked and remote river locations.
“The data gathered on juvenile fish populations is of great interest as are the results from the genetic sampling. Involvement in NEPS 2023 formed part of the trust’s decision to recruit a seasonal assistant who has helped with NEPS and many other projects throughout the Outer Hebrides.
“We are grateful for the excellent local support from fisheries and their assistance with accessing the NEPS sites.”
- electrofishing is undertaken by highly trained individuals to survey fish populations using specialist equipment, passing a small electric current through the water so fish can be caught quickly and easily without causing them harm
- the National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland provides a framework for data collection and analysis that includes a survey design, standard operating procedures and state of the art analysis. This allows the health of juvenile salmon populations to be assessed at site, catchment, regional and national scales
- adult salmon sampling provides information on the number, size, sex and age of salmon returning to Scottish rivers, this data supports national and international management of salmon populations
- the recreational fishing sector is worth £79.9m GVA and supports 4300 jobs in Scotland