October 1, 2008

Anglers Celebrate Bumper Salmon Catch

By Frank Urquhart

THE king of fish is making a steady comeback, with salmon catches on Scotland's rivers last year the third-highest since records began more than 50 years ago, it was revealed yesterday.

This is the fourth bumper catch in four years and has been hailed as evidence of the success of the conservation scheme to rebuild once-fragile stocks.

A report by the government's Fisheries Research Service shows the total reported catch of salmon by anglers in Scotland last year was 91,053, with 61 per cent released back into the rivers. It is only the third time since records began in 1952 that the total rod catch has broken the 90,000 barrier.

The top catch, of 96,488, was recorded in 1988, with 92,918 recorded in 2004.

However, the total reported Scottish catch of sea trout in 2007 was the lowest ever recorded, at 27,115 - 1,709 fewer than the previous year.

Angling is worth more than GBP 70 million a year to Scotland's economy.

Hugh Campbell Adamson, the chairman of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards in Scotland, said: "This is the fourth consecutive year of encouraging rod catches for salmon. The 2007 total is the third-highest on record since 1952, when consistent records began.

"Although the numbers were boosted by some ideal summer angling conditions - there was plenty of rain - the rod catch trend over the last four years suggests that the number of salmon currently entering our rivers is fairly stable and on most rivers robust.

"All the hard work over the last decade by Scotland's salmon managers and fishery biologists to improve and conserve salmon stocks in the freshwater environment is now paying dividends, despite the uncertain nature of marine survival."

But he added: "The continuing decline in sea trout catches is particularly worrying. It is vital that as many adult sea trout as possible are allowed to survive to spawn successfully."


THE catch and release policies for Scotland's major salmon rivers vary markedly from river to river as the figures below demonstrate.

They show the number of salmon caught and kept last year, with the figures for the total number of salmon and grilse caught and released in brackets. Tweed: 11,060 (9,622). Forth: 1,184 (1,414) Tay: 5,293 (3,395) South Esk: 3,758 (389) North Esk: 2,944. (917) Dee: 200 (5,789) Deveron: 2,257 (2,051) Spey: 2,944 (7,083)

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