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Safeguarding Wild Salmon Fisheries

SCOTLAND, UK - The findings of the report by the independent Mixed Stock Salmon Fisheries Working Group have been published.

As well as making recommendations to the Scottish Government, it advises that existing measures to manage and conserve Scotland's wild salmon fisheries should be firmly upheld.

The group, established as part of the Strategic Framework for Scottish Freshwater Fisheries, brought together representatives from salmon angling and commercial net fisheries interests to develop a strategy for managing Scotland's mixed stock fisheries (MSF).

While final evidence did not allow a consensus to be reached, the group has made 21 recommendations, including:

  • Keeping MSF management at local level, while implementing nationally agreed procedures and co-opted expertise when needed;

  • Marine Scotland Science, in consultation with fishery proprietors, should consider the case for further research in order to help address the scientific evidence gap;

  • The existing good practice in cooperation and coordination should be strengthened and supported.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "This is an important report for the future of Scottish salmon. Scotland's wild salmon and sea trout stocks, as with all others in the North Atlantic, face many challenges. I appreciate the willingness of all interests who worked together, and will continue to do so, in order to seek better ways forward in conservation and management.

"David Crawley's position as independent chairman has steered the group in their thorough investigation. His expert and impartial guidance helped shape the examination of science and management issues surrounding Scotland's valuable wild salmon and sea trout. I hope the group's work will lead to a better mutual understanding of the challenges and solutions.

"There are some issues where opinion has been, and remains, divided. The job of Government is, of course, to respect the right of all sectors to have their say.

"The Mixed Stock Salmon Fisheries Working Group has provided an important opportunity for all voices to be heard and the issues facing our wild fisheries to be clearly set out. I share the group's commitment to sustainable wild salmon and sea trout stocks and will consider the findings very carefully before publishing an initial response in early Autumn."

Independent chair of the group, David Crawley, Board member of Scottish National Heritage and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee said: "I am delighted that this report has now been published. It represents 18 months of hard work by all the members of the group whose commitment I warmly acknowledge.

"While it has not been possible to secure formal endorsement of the whole package of recommendations by all the groups involved I am quite clear that the recommendations as a whole strike the right balance and reflect in most respects a broad consensus. Critically they are based on the most robust scientific evidence available and we are all clear that the priority is the conservation of salmon stocks for future generations. I look forward to hearing the Government's response in due course."

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