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To: Scottish Government

Campaign to protect wild salmon

Wild Atlantic Salmon have been a protected species in Scotland since time immemorial. They inhabit wild clean rivers, the lifeblood of many fragile communities who rely on the presence of Atlantic Salmon. Sadly numbers have declined catastrophically over the last 20 years and are now a seriously compromised and endangered fish and food source.

Wild salmon embark on a perilous journey to sea, in order to feed. Quite simply no river could support a hungry population of large salmon. The salmon transitions from a riverine fish to a marine fish, where it feeds for a number of years, before returning to the river it was hatched from. An incredibly important fish inhabiting the North Atlantic since the last Ice Age. The salmon adorns town and city crests going back to medieval times. It’s importance is historic.

Anglers in Scotland have returned their salmon back to the river to preserve stocks for decades now. Anglers fish our salmon rivers to try to catch a fish that is genetically programmed not to feed on its return to spawn the next generation of salmon. The odds are stacked in the Salmon’s favour and the angler relishes their time spent in the countryside and the benefits of leisure.

Salmon anglers generate £150 million in revenue, supporting local economies, employing many people, who need salmon to return in healthy numbers. This is crucial through the shoulder periods of spring and autumn. If salmon numbers continue to fall, the impact will be catastrophic and avoidable. Many thousands of jobs are impacted, workers living on agricultural wages will become unemployed and feeding their families from foodbanks. Our rivers will ultimately become polluted and our environment will suffer terribly. The salmon literally is the canary in the coal mine, as it can only survive in an unpolluted environment. Rivers in England have literally lost their spawning populations to diffuse pollution and predation.

We the signatories call on the Scottish Government to allow the district salmon fishery boards to remove rogue seals slaughtering salmon on the spawning redds, many miles above the tidal limit. To see fishery officers firing paintballs in the water is farcical. These rogue predators need to be culled or relocated. The remit of the Salmon Fishery Board is to protect, preserve and enhance salmon stocks. Quite simply the marine seal adds zero money to the local economy of river valleys, the salmon does. Seals have a significant role in the decline of salmon stocks. Their population has grown exponentially. Nature is out of balance and required corrective measures put in place. It’s no more right for seals to attack salmon on their spawning redds as it is for a dog to attack a farmers sheep in a field.

The other problem needing resolved is the apex predator of juvenile salmon the Goosander, a non native species, from Scandinavia, who’s numbers have been allowed to explode to levels that require stricter controls than present. They work in large family groups and can systematically remove juvenile populations of salmon. Fishery boards have been counting and culling similar numbers of goosanders annually. Populations of salmon are collapsing, juvenile recruitment is a fraction of 20 years ago, therefore the impact of Goosanders on a smaller population of salmon is so much greater.

Local anglers and so called blue collar workers, angling associations and youth are key players in maintaining perpetuity of an historic national pastime. It is not the preserve of the rich tweedy brigade. It’s a vast population of people who enjoy a recreational pastime who are stewards invested in our rivers, supporters who protect our environment and flag up pollution and poaching issues. Local people and river workers are hugely important.

Anglers are voting with their feet and not coming in numbers anymore that filled our valleys, especially Scandinavians. Fishing shops are closing, bars and restaurants who relied on anglers hardly see them in the spring and autumn and are struggling. Covid has made it so much worse for these fragile rural economies. You, the Scottish Government have a responsibility to protect communities from financial catastrophe, to protect an iconic wonderful wild species contributing £150 million per annum, and to restore Scotland as a top global destination for visiting anglers. Stop allowing our wild salmon from being mugged at home and preserve our natural heritage. Get the predator problem resolved before it is too late.

Overseas anglers use Parliament postcode EH99 1SP

Why is this important?

To protect and preserve a truly iconic species, to protect fragile rural economies, to restore the status of Scotland as a top global destination for visiting anglers.
Scotland, UK

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL



2022-02-19 10:25:46 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2022-02-18 19:13:20 +0000

500 signatures reached

2022-02-18 16:27:40 +0000

100 signatures reached

2022-02-18 16:02:46 +0000

50 signatures reached

2022-02-18 15:50:57 +0000

25 signatures reached

2022-02-18 15:44:24 +0000

10 signatures reached