The wild fisheries fund opens for applications on February 1, 2023, and closes on March 31, 2023 and will prioritise applications which aim to protect and enhance wild salmonid populations and local angling opportunities.
Applications are welcomed from local angling clubs and associations; District Salmon Fishery Boards and Fishery Trusts; voluntary or community groups; charities; social enterprises; community interest companies; and not-for-profit organisations.
The wild fisheries fund replaces and builds on the work of the wild salmonid fund, which since 2021 has invested more than £190,000. It will be co-ordinated by fishery manager Jon Gibb, a fisheries trust manager based in Fort William, who has championed a constructive relationship between the farm-raised salmon sector and fisheries and angling groups.
He said that “both the farmed and wild salmon sectors have a common interest to thrive in our shared space and both rely on the rich heritage of the wild salmon and the angling that depends upon them”.
The new fund is part of a total five-year investment of £1.5 million from salmon farmers. To date, grants have been used to save and restore a historic dam in the Western Isles that assists wild salmon to progress to their spawning grounds, as well as restoration projects to reduce riverbank erosion and measures to provide tree canopy and in-stream cover for young salmon.
The revamped fund will prioritise applications of a practical nature which aim to protect and enhance wild salmon populations and local angling opportunities, recognising that salmon and trout fishing is at the cultural heart of many Highland communities and provides human health benefits.
As Jon Gibb explained in a press release: “As a salmon fishery manager with over 25 years of experience on the west coast of Scotland, I am delighted to co-ordinate this fund on behalf of Salmon Scotland.
“Wild salmon are under very serious threat from a wide range of impacts, both in the river and at sea, and any projects to further understand those impacts and mitigate against them are urgently required.
“I am also delighted that the fund now covers applications from local angling clubs and other community bodies in the shared space to improve their angling and outreach opportunities – these organisations have often been unable to access significant funding in the past and yet salmon and trout fishing is at the very cultural heart of many Highland communities.
“Both the farmed and wild salmon sectors have a common interest to thrive in our shared space and both rely on the rich heritage of the wild salmon and the angling that depends upon them.”