Fisheries & Aquaculture News

Funding for Scotland’s Wild Salmon

The latest phase of a fund to help save Scotland’s iconic wild salmon by restoring habitats, providing protection from predators, and encouraging river restocking schemes is open for applications for 2024.

The Salmon Scotland wild fisheries fund will see £140,000 invested by Scotland's salmon farmers over the course of the next year to help address the decline in fish numbers.

This comes as part of a wider five-year investment of £1.5 million from salmon farmers.

The fund is open to all river catchment organizations throughout the whole of Scotland in 2024, but organizers have suggested that there is a particular interest in projects in the shared zone of aquaculture and wild salmon fisheries.

Wild salmon and sea trout populations throughout the UK have been in decline for decades—particularly because of habitat loss and rising river and sea temperatures.

These fish now have a marine survival rate of just one-to-five percent, compared to around 25 percent only three decades ago.

The Scottish Government has identified other pressures facing wild salmon, including non-native plants, predation by fish, birds and seals, and obstacles to fish passage including dams and weirs.

Initially conceived in 2021 as the Wild Salmonid Fund before being rebranded last year, the initiative moves into its fourth year having already invested more than £335,000 in relevant projects.

Last year Salmon Scotland launched a dedicated website ( to support the fund, ensuring transparency on the amount of funding projects received.

Every project which has received funding since 2021 is listed, and visitors can keep up to date on progress.

To date, grants have been used to save and restore a historic dam in the Western Isles that assists wild salmon to progress to their spawning grounds, as well as restoration projects to reduce riverbank erosion and measures to provide tree canopy and in-stream cover for young salmon.

The 2024 fund will again be coordinated by Jon Gibb, a fisheries manager based in Fort William in the heart of the aquaculture sector, who has championed a constructive relationship between the farm-raised salmon sector and fisheries and angling groups.

The fund opened for applications on February 1 and the closing date will be March 31, with decisions on grants taken by Salmon Scotland in April. Click here to apply.

Jon Gibb, coordinator of the Salmon Scotland wild fisheries fund, said: "As a salmon fishery manager with over 25 years of experience on the west coast of Scotland, I am again delighted to co-ordinate this fund on behalf of Salmon Scotland.

"In 2023 wild Atlantic salmon in Scotland were officially classed as an endangered species.

"This keystone species is under very serious threat from a wide range of impacts both in the river and at sea, and any projects to further understand those impacts and mitigate against them are urgently required.

"I am also delighted that the fund is now available to all Scottish river management organizations including on the east coast of Scotland which has seen a more marked decline in recent years in wild salmon populations than the west coast.”

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: "Wild salmon is one of Scotland's most iconic species, but there has been a decades-long decline on the east and west coasts of Scotland as a result of climate change and habitat destruction.

"Scotland's salmon farmers want to continue playing their part in finding solutions, engaging constructively with the wild fish sector and taking meaningful action to save wild salmon.

"Many salmon farmers are anglers themselves, and most people in the fisheries and angling sectors recognize the importance of a healthy shared environment, ensuring fish can thrive in our waters.

"Through the extraordinary success story of farm-raised salmon, we have developed world-leading expertise in hatching and rearing salmon that can thrive at sea.

"As well as financial support to projects, our members are sharing their knowledge and experience to support wild fisheries with re-stocking, again showing how collaboration is key to reversing the worrying decline in wild salmon numbers."


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