HOTELS, restaurants and celebrity chefs are being urged to drop wild salmon from their menus over concerns about the pressure on the species.

The Marine Conservation Society's (MCS) latest update of its sustainable seafood guide reveals continuing problems for wild caught Atlantic salmon.

In Scotland, it says that lack of appropriate management to prevent overfishing of salmon from rivers where stocks are low, and the absence of internationally recognised conservation limits, have resulted in the species slipping onto the red rated, Fish to Avoid list.

Andrew Graham-Stewart, director of the Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland), said the evidence of the last three years confirmed conclusively that wild salmon stocks were in marked decline. He said: "Given the parlous state of our wild salmon stocks, it makes no sense at all to permit unrestricted and indiscriminate killing by coastal nets."

MCS Fisheries Officer Bernadette Clarke said that Scotland has not yet set conservation limits for its salmon rivers.

It is illegal in Scotland to sell salmon caught by a rod, so the wild salmon sold to commercial properties come from Scottish netsmen.

Keith Allan, secretary of the Salmon Net Fishing Association Of Scotland, pointed to the low water conditions in Scotland's river in the last two years, which indicated the salmon were staying out at sea.

He said: "It is pure speculation to conclude that because the fish are not in the river systems, they must be being captured by the few remaining netting stations.