Poaching continues to be the most commonly recorded type of wildlife crime in Scotland, with an increase of almost 30 per cent recorded for salmon and other fish.

The second annual wildlife crime report just published ranges from badger baiting, raptor persecutions and damage to precious freshwater pearl mussels.

Figures published earlier this year, also by the Scottish Government, show raptor poisoning incidents had risen from three in 2012 to six in 2013.

Poaching involves the taking of deer, salmon or other game without the permission of the landowner or without fishing rights.

Salmon and freshwater fisheries offences were the most frequent poaching incidents recorded, with 130 crimes in 2012/13, compared to 101 in 2011/12 - an increase of almost 29 per cent. Nineteen people were prosecuted with 13 found guilty.

Paul Reid, volunteer water bailiff on the Clyde and Kelvin catchment, said he was not surprised by the figures.

He said: "It can be very difficult to get a prosecution. It's difficult enough for the police to get there in time to catch them. Poachers don't have to be in rural areas. We actually have a problem in the Milngavie area just now in the River Allander with set lines of hooks and evidence of netting."

He said poachers range from members of professional gangs who go all over Scotland netting, to the amateur who just chances his luck and fishes with a rod without a permit.

Meanwhile, there were also 11 proceedings for hunting with dogs, with seven guilty verdicts.

For an offence which took place in Fife in April 2013, involving the illegal hunting of deer with a dog, the guilty party was fined £500 and disqualified from having custody of a dog for two years.

The report says: "The removal of dogs from owners has a serious disruptive effect on levels of activity, much of which is organised and involves wider criminality than the poaching offence itself."

Raptor persecution continued to be the most high-profile of wildlife crime in 2013, with four buzzards, one red kite and a golden eagle poisoned.

The report says: "Probably the most notable of these was the illegal poisoning of the satellite-tagged golden eagle 'Fearnan' in the Angus Glens in 2013. This eagle died after ingesting the highly toxic pesticide carbofuran."

Carbofuran has been used, either solely or in combination with another chemical, in just under 70 per cent of recorded raptor poisoning incidents between 2009 and 2013. This is despite it being illegal to possess and being banned in the UK since 2001.

The wildlife charity Scottish Badgers estimate that there is a stable population of around 25,000 badgers in Scotland.

A police-led operation dedicated to badger crime, recorded 694 incidents throughout the UK in 2013 with 50 of those incidents being reported in Scotland. Ten of these related to alleged badger baiting, most of which took place in central and south Scotland.

But police say there have also been incidents relating to poisoning, shooting and trapping.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: "While poaching is the most commonly recorded offence, crimes against our beautiful birds of prey and pearl mussels remain the most serious in terms of damage to Scotland's natural environment and our reputation.

"Though the numbers involved are relatively small, there is absolutely no room for complacency."

Duncan Orr-Ewing, RSPB Scotland Head of Species and Land Management, praised Mr Wheelhouse's commitment to fighting wildlife crime, but said: "It is clear there continues to be a considerable threat to some of our rarest birds of prey by individuals who pay little regard to the law."