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The Missing Salmon Alliance Welcomes the Publication of the Scottish Wild Salmon Strategy

Media Release Issued by the Missing Salmon Alliance: Scottish Government urged to act quickly to save our wild salmon

The Missing Salmon Alliance (MSA), a coalition of five salmon conservation groups, welcomes the Scottish Government’s Wild Salmon Strategy, which was published today (Friday 14 January 2022).  The strategy, framed around a high-level vision and objectives, aims to guide collective actions that will benefit wild fish populations for many years to come.  With wild Atlantic salmon numbers in dramatic decline, action cannot come soon enough.

The Missing Salmon Alliance welcomes all aspects of this strategy and, as a collaborative body working together to safeguard the future of wild Atlantic salmon, we are committed to working with the Scottish Government to achieve it.

Mark Bilsby, CEO of the Atlantic Salmon Trust, an MSA member, said, “We support the ambition in the strategy to explore new means of investment in Scotland’s rivers, including through corporate, social and environmental responsibility. In order to deliver the strategy in full, funding the urgent actions required to address the pressures facing wild salmon is a key issue. The partners in the Missing Salmon Alliance look forward to contributing to this workstream and helping to deliver these crucial improvements to Scotland’s rivers.”

The strategy was informed by an expert advisory group and sets out five priority themes for action to address the pressures which our wild Atlantic salmon face. The strategy recognises the urgency of the situation and the need for Scottish Government, Agencies, and the charity and private sectors to work together and coordinate action to prioritise the protection and recovery of Scotland’s wild Atlantic salmon populations.

Dr Alan Wells, Chief Executive of Fisheries Management Scotland, an MSA member, who sat on the advisory group said, “We have been working for many years to raise awareness of the issues that our wild salmon face and we welcome the recognition of these issues at a national scale. It is now crucial that the strategy is delivered without delay. The next step in the process is the development of an implementation plan, and we look forward to contributing to that. However, there are many improvements that can be taken forward now, and we urge the Scottish Government to act quickly to deliver the actions that our wild salmon need. These include funding crucial work to enhance the sustainability of our rivers, through planting riverside trees to mitigate climate-induced warming, accelerating action to improve water quality and quantity, removing barriers to fish migration and delivering a reformed regulatory system that protects wild fish from the impacts of fish farming.”

Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaign at the Angling Trust, an MSA member, said, “With wild Atlantic salmon facing such an uncertain future, it is good to see the Scottish government coming forward with this strategy.  In doing so, they need to learn the lessons from England, who published their five-point plan for salmon, five years ago.  It has gone nowhere and achieved nothing.  Time has come for England to renew its approach to protect salmon and for both countries to make this a conservation priority.

The Scottish Wild Salmon Strategy is available here.

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