Flickr / Dee Fishing | by Michael Elleray

Wild salmon stocks hit 'lowest level' on record after disastrous season on Scotland's prime rivers

Salmon catches on Scotland’s rivers fell to their lowest level since records began last year, sparking calls for the preservation of the species to become a national priority.

Fisheries Management Scotland said official figures to be released by the Scottish Government on Wednesday would confirm that Atlantic salmon are at a “crisis point”.

Rod and line catches are believed to have been lower than since records began in 1952, after a disastrous year on famous rivers, including the Tay, the Tweed and the Spey.

Alan Wells, chief executive of FMS, which represents the country’s district salmon fishery boards, said: "Figures for 2018, taken together with those of recent years, confirm this iconic species is now approaching crisis point.

"Some of the factors impacting on wild salmon stocks may be beyond human control.

"But Scotland's Government and regulatory authorities now have a historic opportunity to do everything in their power to safeguard the species in those areas where they can make a difference."

salmon fishing
Anglers gathered at the start of a new season on the Tay this year more in hope than expectationCREDIT: JEFF MITCHELL/GETTY

He added: "Salmon conservation must become a national priority in what is the International Year of the Salmon.

"We are calling on all regulatory authorities urgently to place a renewed emphasis on the crucial importance of salmon conservation.

"There are many examples where positive interventions have already helped, but more must be done.”

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