Initiative launched to improve health of Scotland’s wild salmon stocks
A new Salmon Interactions Workstream, incorporating a working group tasked with providing expert advice on mitigating pressures on wild salmon, has been launched by the Scottish government.
It is estimated that the population of Scottish Atlantic salmon declined by more than 50 percent from around 1.25 million in the 1960s to 600,000 in 2016.
“Wild salmon is one of Scotland’s most iconic species but the sector faces significant challenges, including declining numbers. The development of this new interactions working group will therefore play a vital role in the industry’s future, providing advice on mitigating the impact of aquaculture on our wild salmon populations,” Scotland's Environmental Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said.
The group will be chaired independently by John Goodlad, who is currently chairman of Fisheries Innovation Scotland, and the membership will come from the aquaculture and wild fisheries sectors, Marine Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and Scottish Natural Heritage. Both the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) and Fisheries Management Scotland have welcomed the group’s establishment and remit.
It will be tasked with examining conclusions from a parliamentary inquiry into farmed salmon in Scotland as well as evaluating current Scottish government policy and advice governing wild and farmed salmon sea lice interactions.
Goodlad said he welcomed the opportunity to help drive forward discussions between the aquaculture and wild fishery sectors.
“I already know that both sectors will be engaging with the process in a positive and enabling manner, building on the exchanges during the parliamentary process over the last few months."