Wild Fisheries Reform – 2017 Conservation Status
The Scottish Government has just published “Salmon Conservation Regulations September 2016”, which allocates a conservation status for all salmon rivers in Scotland for the 2017 season. There have been a number of improvements in the process used to assess conservation status, which now considers additional information to the previous process which was based solely on catch data. The new process includes a number of developments including:
For the most part, the regulations are now based on individual rivers rather than fisheries district, and a total of 167 areas have been categorised.
Fish counter data from Marine Scotland, Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Electricity has been used to estimate the number of salmon entering rivers in each month.
Flow data from SEPA has been used in consideration of the effects of flow on rod catches.
Estimation of egg deposition has been improved by taking into account refined models for salmon population characteristics such as age, size, proportion female and egg content.
2017 Conservation Status – Local Rivers
As a result of the new process the conservation status for the main Cromarty Firth rivers, the Conon and River Alness have both been assessed as Grade 1 which means that “Exploitation is sustainable and therefore no additional management action is currently required”.
Elsewhere in the Cromarty Firth, the River Glass has also both assessed as Grade 1, and the Balnagown River as Grade 3, meaning “Exploitation is unsustainable and mandatory catch and release (all methods) for 1 year will be required”.
The River Beauly has been upgraded to Grade 2, while the River Ness remains Grade 3. All of the Kyle of Sutherland rivers (Carron, Shin, Cassley & Oykel) are now Grade 1.
More information and full documents are available for download at