Around £700,000 will be spent on work to help address the range of pressures related to the decline of Scottish wild salmon stocks.
The support will include £500,000 for research and activities, and includes a new national programme of local sampling which will help to count the numbers of juvenile salmon in rivers, before they leave to become adults at sea and return, and monitor their abundance.
District Salmon Fishery Boards and those interested in establishing new ones can also bid for a share of £200,000 for mergers, or to set up new boards which will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries management.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP said:
“The decline in wild salmon numbers is due to a range of complex factors and is of great concern. We must do all we can to safeguard the future of this iconic species.
“The survival rate of salmon during their marine phase has fallen from around 25% to 5% over the last 40 years and, while the exact causes of this dramatic loss are unclear, we must do what we can to protect salmon numbers.
“I applaud the work of Fisheries Management Scotland and its members to date. This investment will accelerate and enhance joint work to try to quantify and mitigate a wide-ranging list of potential pressures on Scottish salmon stocks, such as forestry, hydro, barriers to migration, predation, illegal poaching, salmon farming, invasive non-native species, inshore and offshore developments and diffuse pollution. No single one of these, tackled alone, will secure the recovery of our wild salmon stocks.
“Voluntary mergers of Fishery Boards will help to generate cost savings, pool resources and better tackle river pressures like high water temperatures and instream habitats, which can affect the production of juvenile salmon.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Wild salmon are important for the good health of our rivers and important for Scottish tourism and continues to be prized on restaurant tables across the globe. It is essential that wild salmon survive and thrive. The dramatic decline in survival in recent decades is of concern. I am pleased therefore that the SNP Government is acting to investigate why the decline has happened and is committed to reversing that decline.”
Further information is available at: Wild Fisheries Governance Fund.