THE wild salmon population in Scotland is at "crisis point" with numbers returning to Scotland’s coast in decline, a report has found. 

It's thought the species is being affected by a wide range of pressures, some at sea, and many associated with the Scottish freshwater and coastal environments - but a key contributory factor appears to be climate change.

In an attempt to bring back the population from crisis point, the Scottish Government has launched its Scottish Wild Salmon Strategy in a bid to transform stocks. 

A range of measures including the condition of rivers and tackling poaching will combine to address the many challenges salmon face in their lifecycle.


Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “There is now significant evidence showing that populations of Atlantic salmon are at crisis point and, we must now reinvigorate our collective efforts to ensure a positive future for the species.

“Although the pattern of decline is repeated across the salmon’s North Atlantic range, with climate change a significant factor, there remains much that we can do in our rivers, lochs and coastal waters to seek to build resilience and transform the fortunes of this iconic fish."

Scotland is a stronghold for Atlantic salmon, which start their lives in streams and rivers, migrate to the high seas to grow and return home to spawn, connecting diverse habitats over a vast area.

This life cycle means they are exposed to a range of threats and pressures in streams, rivers, sea lochs, estuaries, coastal waters and the open ocean.

The number of salmon returning to Scotland’s coast has declined since the early 1970s.

The estimated number of spawning salmon remained steady over this period, before declining from 2010 onwards.


Ms Gougeon added: “In addition to the measures we will take in Scotland, we are committed to supporting and pushing forward collective action in the international arena, so the young salmon leaving our rivers survive the many challenges they face on the high seas to return to their home river to spawn the next generation. 

"Only by acting together, at home and overseas, and applying our collective resource, knowledge and expertise can we hope to change the fortunes of this iconic and vital species.”





A more detailed implementation plan will be developed with stakeholders.