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Salmon and Sea Trout

Salmon fisheries in Scotland are managed by a system of 41 District Salmon Fishery Boards, which were first established in the 1860s for the preservation of salmon fisheries. The Boards are river catchment based and regulate both rod and line and netting industries within their region.

Fishery Boards can appoint Water Bailiffs who have extensive powers of search seizure and arrest in relation to salmon fishery offences. The District Fishery Board Bailiffs are the main deterrent against salmon poaching and are increasingly well trained and equipped with modern surveillance and communications technology.

Whilst the Boards have statutory powers and duties, they are privately funded by levying a tax on any owner of salmon fishing rights within their region. In recent years the role of the District Salmon Fishery Boards has evolved significantly, many now employ a full time biologist or are associated with a local Fishery Trust. The Boards are linked by an Association of Salmon Fishery Boards, based in Edinburgh which plays an important co-ordinating and lobbying role.

Many Boards are also members of the Scottish Fishery Coordination Centre. This is a fishery research organisation formed by a partnership between Fishery Boards, Fishery Trusts and the Scottish Governments Fishery Research Services. The Scottish Fishery Coordination Centre has developed standardised methods for collecting and storing river habitat survey and juvenile electrofishing data. There is also a training and certification system to guarantee the quality of data gathered. These types of survey gather baseline data on the quality and quantity of freshwater habitat available and the extent to which it is used by juvenile fish. Fishery data gathered through the SFCC membership can be analysed locally or nationally using Geographical Information System technology. The SFCC has also recently developed a framework for the production of Fishery Management Plans, which can be used to translate research into more effective management.

By developing partnerships with government agencies, Fishery Trusts and universities many Boards are actively involved in research programmes that assist in the understanding and improved management of wild salmon stocks. Some Boards and Trusts have developed education programmes to assist schoolchildren and community groups to appreciate the value and vulnerability of Scotland’s wild salmon.

The following links will provide more information on salmon and sea trout fishing in the Moray Firth:

Scottish Government - Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Information

Spey Fishery Board
The Spey Fishery Board is the Statutory Body responsible for the conservation, protection and enhancement of Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout stocks and their fisheries throughout this, as well as for 20 miles of coastline for which their responsibility extends 3 nautical miles out to sea.

The Moray Firth Sea Trout Project
A three year collaborative project combining the efforts of District Salmon Fisheries Boards, Fisheries Trusts and Angling Associations around the Moray Firth to address the decline in sea trout stocks. The management area extends from the River Deveron in the East right round to the Kyle system in the North and takes in all rivers and coastal streams round the coast.

Kyle of Sutherland District Salmon Fisheries Board
Covers the catchment area for Rivers Evelix, Carron, Oykel, Cassley and Shin.

Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust
(N&BFT) is an environmental charity established in 2006 to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of both the Rivers Beauly and Ness and the native fish stocks within their catchments.

Findhorn District Salmon Fishery Board
For the protection, enhancement and conservation of stocks of Salmon and Sea Trout for the mainstem of the Findhorn but also the tributaries. These include: Moy and the Dorback. The Coastal area extends from Burghhead to Midway between the Findhorn and Nairn.