After 18 months of deliberations, the first of a series of working groups to help protect wild salmonids has delivered its recommendations in a new report.
The Salmon Interactions Working Group – a collaboration between the Scottish salmon farmers, the wild fish sector and governmental bodies – has together agreed 42 recommendations that aim to:
- Improve the regulation of wild-farmed interactions
- Improve the relationship between the farmed and wild salmonid sectors
- Support the conservation of wild salmonids that includes investment into vital habitat restoration.
Julie Hesketh-Laird, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said: “The Scottish Government has identified 12 potential pressures to wild salmonids in Scotland that it wishes to explore, of which wild/farmed salmon interactions is just one. However, as farmers, our members have an acute appreciation of the need to maintain and protect the natural balance of the habitats in which we live and work, and as such have been keen to lend their insights and experience from day one of discussions.
“With the results of those recommendations now released, our hope is that these newly forged ties between the different stakeholders can continue, with both wild and farmed interests learning from the other. In particular, Scotland’s salmon farmers have shown their commitment to best practice by going further with transparency and data reporting than almost all international counterparts. We would now like to see the wild fish sector match our level of transparency and frequency of reporting to help us all better understand what is really happening to Scotland's wild salmon stocks.
“Equally, we look forward to governmental bodies addressing the other 11 identified pressures to wild salmon and trout in an equally thorough manner in the near future.”
Amongst the 12 identified potential pressures to be explored are capture fisheries (netting, rod and line), habitat quality, predation and barriers to migration (hydro schemes).