Salmon in the Tay are getting bigger – so why are anglers so worried?

Warming seas are affecting salmon in the Tay and that is “very worrying” for those whose livelihoods depend on the iconic river.

David Godfrey is the head ghillie at Tay Salmon Fisheries Company. “Economically it’s very worrying. “My job is taking people to catch salmon. If there’s no salmon, then I don’t have a job. “That’s always a worry.”

What’s happening to the Tay salmon?

The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board has noticed an increase in the proportion of larger salmon in the river. That might initially sound like a good thing. But unfortunately the overall numbers of salmon are said to be decreasing.

And there are fears the numbers of salmon returning to spawn could reach a tipping point. Mr Godfrey says the presence of larger fish tells a story about how climate change is affecting the salmon’s life cycle.

There is now a general trend of fewer young salmon, called grilse, returning to the Tay after one winter at sea. And this is a pattern repeated across Scottish rivers.

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