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Scottish Government to Front Atlantic Salmon Conservation Effort

The Scottish Government, alongside the Scottish Crown Estate, is fronting an effort to preserve Atlantic Salmon in Scotland.

The numbers of wild Atlantic salmon returning to Scotland have declined over the last four decades by around 40%, impacting the conservation status of many rivers in the country.

£550,000, including £150,000 from the Scottish Crown Estate, is going towards sampling juvenile and adult salmon to collect scales and other biological information from fish throughout the country.

Visit Aberfeldy explained: “Rivers and burns throughout Highland Perthshire are home to many thousands of migratory salmon, some of which swim many miles into the mountains to reach their home pools to spawn and start another cycle of their amazing life story.

The Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, said: “We take the issue of our declining salmon stocks very seriously, with the reasons for it wide-ranging and complex.

“The investment in monitoring will help us to better understand these pressures.

 “We know that high river temperatures during the summer are a pressure on wild salmon and we are identifying priority stretches of waterways to target tree planting, providing living parasols to provide shade and encourage good survival and growth of salmon.

“We are working with landowners and land managers to encourage them to take measures such as tree planting to support salmon conservation.

“However, it is believed that salmon mortality at sea has increased in part due to the effect of climate change on ecosystems and shifts in locations where food is abundant.

“That is why it is vital, especially as we head towards COP26 that we continue to address the double challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.”

Fiona Simpson Asset Manager for Crown Estate Scotland added: “We are fully committed to supporting Scotland’s wild fisheries sector, which faces many challenges at the moment and which is an important part of Scotland’s wider environment and rural economy.

“This funding allows for valuable research to be carried out which will contribute evidence to hopefully lead to a better understanding of some of the reasons behind the decline in Atlantic salmon numbers in Scottish rivers and inform targeted action plans to address current problems”.

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