Protecting Wild Salmon
Cabinet Secretary launches Sustainable Rivers Audit as new Tweed season starts
Net Zero Secretary Màiri McAllan visited Kelso for the opening of the 2024 salmon fishing season on the Tweed and to launch the Sustainable Rivers Audit.
She joined the Duchess of Sutherland, the River Tweed Commission, River Tweed Foundation, The Tweed Forum, fishers and community members to mark the formal opening of the river before launching the Audit, which will help improve understanding of where management action needs to be taken to benefit wild salmon.
Màiri McAllan said: “I was very pleased to be in the Borders to take part in the opening of the 2024 season and to launch the Sustainable Rivers Audit.
“Atlantic salmon are one of our most iconic species and Scottish Government is committed to working with our partners, both domestic and international, to protect and restore populations.
“Free access to cold, clean water is essential for wild salmon. A year ago we published our Wild Salmon Strategy Implementation Plan which sets out over sixty actions to tackle the wide range of pressures on wild salmon, including planting riverside trees to protect rivers from rising temperatures and restoring natural river flows by removing weirs that are no longer in use.
“The work that will be carried out as part of the Sustainable Rivers Audit will therefore be invaluable to us all in better understanding and improving the catchment and we are grateful to the Tweed Commission and Foundation as critical partners in our efforts.
“I look forward to seeing the results of the audit and I wish everyone a successful 2024 season.”
Jamie Stewart, Chief Executive of the River Tweed Commission said: “We were really pleased to be able to host the Cabinet Secretary. Her knowledge and contribution to the debate was well received, as was her commitment to visit again to discuss in detail our ongoing relationship with other stakeholders to ensure we have the best opportunity to have cold clean water to support those returning salmon and the nurseries for the future.
“We look forward to working with the Cabinet Secretary and her parliamentary colleagues as we work towards a partnership to mitigate the decline in the iconic Atlantic salmon.”
This follows the announcement this week of the award of grants worth £14 million from the Marine Fund Scotland 2023-24, including several aimed at protecting and conserving wild salmon populations.
Fisheries Management Scotland, the representative body for District Salmon Fishery Boards and Rivers/Fisheries Trusts, has received a combined £750,000 for four projects. This will include the management of invasive non-native pink salmon in Scotland as well as the purchase of equipment to support monitoring.
Dr Alan Wells, CEO of Fisheries Management Scotland said:
“Fisheries Management Scotland is extremely grateful for this important support from Marine Fund Scotland, which recognises that Scotland’s wild Atlantic salmon are a conservation priority. Our members are working tirelessly to protect, conserve and restore Scotland’s wild salmon populations and this vital funding will support these crucial efforts.
“This funding will directly support actions identified in Scotland’s Wild Salmon Strategy. It will support efforts to understand the abundance of young salmon in our rivers, identify and quantify pressures, and highlight the management actions required to address them. It will also support practical action to manage pressures faced by Scotland’s wild salmon, including predation and invasive, non-native pink salmon.”