Press Release: Saving Our Wild Salmon


Staff member
Jun 8, 2009
Brighton, UK
Issued by the Atlantic Salmon Trust


Thursday 18 March 2021

A conservation charity, whose sole purpose is the fight to save the wild Atlantic salmon, has started preparing for this year’s launch of two ground-breaking research projects

The Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) has brokered vital partnerships with other key organisations including Scottish Government, the Missing Salmon Alliance and local river boards and fishery trusts to work together for the future of this iconic and essential species. Now, as never before, the future of the salmon has united the fishing world, creating an opportunity to gather vital information and distil it into real solutions.

Scotland’s rivers are home to 90% of the UK’s salmon population. For every 100 young salmon that go to sea, only five return as adult fish, and numbers are dropping so dramatically that at the current rate, the wild Atlantic salmon could disappear by the middle of the century. Sometimes referred to as a ‘canary in the mine’, the salmon is a living barometer of the health of our waters, and is telling us clearly that something is wrong with our rivers and seas.

The AST is starting the second year of the Moray Firth Tracking Project, with preparations taking place throughout its seven project rivers. This dovetails with the West Coast Tracking Project, a separate study beginning this year, involving Marine Scotland and Fisheries Management Scotland, along with ten rivers between Dumfries and the far north west of Scotland, as well as the Outer Hebrides. The projects aim to separately gain vital information on the young salmon as they travel along the rivers, and their migration routes thereafter.

Alongside key project staff, an army of volunteers will be joining this fascinating study, estimated to involve over 15,000 hours over the six week tagging period.

Mark Bilsby, Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic Salmon Trust said:

“We are delighted to be part of this ground-breaking and globally important study, and we have already gained a fascinating insight into where the fish in the Moray Firth are going missing and now we need to find out why. The groundswell of support from people on the ground has been truly inspiring, especially during these difficult times in a pandemic. With this amazing support we can really understand how better to look after wild salmon and ensure that they have a future in this rapidly changing world.”

Dr. Lorna Wilkie, the Trust’s Salmon and Sea Trout Acoustic Tracking Co-ordinator is leading both research projects. She adds,

“I believe that the tracking studies will provide us with vital information about the challenges our salmon face during their migration from river to sea, informing us of what actions are needed in order to better protect them.”


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