Additional Government support is being made available for angling clubs potentially impacted by new regulations to protect Scotland’s wild salmon.
The measures are being introduced in response to concerns about declining fish stocks and come after extensive consultation about the most effective and proportionate means of conservation.
From April 1 this year, the killing of wild salmon will not be allowed in areas of Scotland where they are deemed to be most at risk.
Environment Minister Aileen McLeod has today confirmed up to £100,000 Scottish Government support will be made available to help angling clubs in fishery districts where catch and release will be mandatory.
Commenting, Dr McLeod said: “Scottish wild salmon is a valuable and important asset but fish numbers have been declining for a number of years. We need to take action now to protect stocks for the future. These new regulations strike the right balance between conservation and the interests of those who fish for salmon. They were the subject of extensive consultation and have been generally welcomed by fisheries organisations.
“Over the past few weeks I have listened to some concerns about the potential impact that mandatory catch and release will have on angling clubs that are already facing declining membership numbers. This is in spite of the fact that an estimated 82 per cent of wild salmon caught in Scottish waters by anglers are voluntarily released already. While we take forward these measures both to ensure the conservation of this iconic species and that fishing will continue for generations to come,
“I want to reiterate my commitment to work with the sector to further develop the methodology informing future assessments. Going forward I will continue to listen and consider any additional information that might support a re-categorisation of a fishery district.
“To help mitigate the potential impact of these measures, I will be funding a two year programme to support angling clubs that need assistance in promoting catch and release as a sustainable and responsible practice. Marine Scotland will appoint a partner organisation to provide direct assistance and practical support to angling clubs. Further information will be available soon.”