The number of wild Atlantic salmon returning to Scottish coastal waters has declined since estimates began in the 1970s[1]. Catches of salmon in Scotland have been recorded since 1952. The most recent statistics from the 2022 season showed the total reported rod catch of wild salmon was 42,204, the fourth lowest on record (Fig. 1). In total, 97% of the rod caught salmon were returned to the water, showing the continued effort from the angling community with regards to catch and release practices. In December 2023 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published its latest assessment which classified wild Atlantic salmon populations in Great Britain as endangered for the first time.

Figure 1: A Annual number of salmon caught by rod since 1952, and annual number of salmon caught by rod and released since 1994 (thousands). Data source: 2022 Scottish salmon and sea trout statistics, Supplementary Tables, Table 1. B Estimated number of wild Atlantic salmon returning to the Scottish coast together with estimates of the number surviving to spawn in Scottish rivers. (source: returns to coast ICES WGNAS/Scottish Government; spawner numbers Scottish Government).