Salmon management

What is the issue?

Salmon management is complex. Being anadromous, the fish utilise all available habitats - fresh, intertidal and marine. We can do much more to protect freshwater spawning and juvenile habitats, and the migration routes for salmon up and down river systems and estuaries, than for the marine environment, where our most effective protective tools involve the management of commercial salmon exploitation, both on the high seas and in homewater coastal fisheries. S&TCUK's work with salmon therefore ranges from local and national management and environmental issues to influencing international policies through NGO membership of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO).

What S&TCUK has achieved so far

Salmon issues are so complex that the most successful achievements are almost always brought about by collaboration between several fisheries NGOs, often in different countries. We work particularly closely in the UK with the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB - Scotland), Rivers & Fisheries Trusts for Scotland (RAFTS), Atlantic Salmon Trust and Fish Legal, but also with NGOs in Ireland, Norway, France, Canada and the USA.

  • Appointed an environmental lawyer to lead a robust challenge to the Scottish salmon fish farming industry over its impact on wild salmon (and sea trout) stocks on the West Coast and Islands. Our work on salmon farming is described in full detail in our sister website
  • Lobbied for closure and helped buy out the majority of the North East Coast Drift Net licenses in 2003
  • Helped in the wide-ranging NGO action which resulted in closure of the Irish Drift Net Fishery in 2006
  • Advised the Environment Agency over the drafting and final publication of The Sea Trout & Salmon Strategy
  • Lobbied through NASCO for limited fishing off Greenland and the Faroe Islands
  • Sat on the Scottish Government's Working Group into the remaining Mixed Stock Fisheries around the Scottish Coast
  • Covered all habitat and environmental issues through our work with the Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive (under which Atlantic salmon are a designated Annex 1 protected species)

What still needs to be done?

  • Despite all the intense work to limit high seas and coastal netting, Scotland, England and Norway still operate significant mixed stock fisheries (MSFs) - those exploiting fish from more than one river system, thereby making single river stock management much more difficult. S&TCUK continues to work for the closure of all MSF fisheries for salmon (and sea trout) in England and Scotland
  • The fish farming industry must operate under more stringent regulation to stop its impact on wild salmonids. S&TCUK continues to invest heavily in a legal approach to the issue which we intend will ultimately result in a biological barrier between farmed and wild salmon - almost certainly through closed containment units
  • S&TCUK continues to work for pristine freshwater habitat and open migration routes


Further Information

5-Point Plan for managing salmon in England