Annual conference 2021 – Protecting our aquatic environment for future generations

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Locally – nationally – globally – our salmon and freshwater fish face unprecedented environmental challenges. The climate and biodiversity crises are having an enormous impact and we need to act with urgency to protect our precious natural environment. The Fisheries Management Scotland 2021 conference brought together a diverse range of contributors to outline the nature of the challenges we are facing and how these can be addressed, through local and national collaborative action.

View the 2021 Conference programme.

Session 1: Addressing the wild salmon crisis

Dr Alan Wells (Fisheries Management Scotland)
2020 – a year of challenges and opportunities

Alan is the Chief Executive of Fisheries Management Scotland – the representative body for Scotland’s district salmon fishery boards, the River Tweed Commission and rivers and fisheries trusts. Alan spent nearly 15 years at the University of St Andrews, latterly as a post-doctoral research fellow examining the management of interactions between aquaculture and wild salmonid fish. In 2011 Alan joined the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards, which became Fisheries Management Scotland in 2016. Fisheries Management Scotland represents members across a broad range of issues including: salmon conservation; fisheries enforcement and wildlife crime; aquaculture; river basin management planning; predation; beaver management and marine renewables.


Dr John Armstrong (Marine Scotland Science)
The issues facing Salmon and other freshwater species and some possible solutions

John has worked in Marine Scotland Science and its predecessors for over 20 years studying predominantly Atlantic salmon and brown trout, particularly in relation to fisheries management. Previously he researched Scottish pike and the behaviour of deep-sea fish in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. He has published extensively in the scientific and advisory literature on a wide range of management topics including fish passes, nutrient enrichment, stocking, marine renewable energy, fish-eating birds, seals, water flow regulation, impacts of alien species, beavers, pink salmon, climate change, aquaculture, tracking and population assessment.


Torbjørn Forseth (Norwegian Scientific Advisory Committee for Atlantic Salmon Management)
Assessing threats to Atlantic salmon in Norway

Torbjørn Forseth is a Senior Researcher at Norwegian Institute for Nature Research with more than 25 years of experience with salmonid research. For the last 12 years he has been the leader of the Norwegian Scientific Advisory Committee for Atlantic Salmon Management. The committee annually assess the status of and pressures acting on Norway’s salmon populations, and provide scientific advise to management on a range of topics, including fisheries regulation.


Session 2: Managing the pressures on our aquatic environment

Polly Burns (Fisheries Management Scotland)
Managing wild-farmed Interactions

Polly is the Aquaculture Interactions Manager with Fisheries Management Scotland. Polly has a degree in Marine Science from the Scottish Association for Marine Science and a Masters by Research on historical ecology around Ascension Island, from the University of York. She spent two years working for the Spey Foundation as the Assistant Biologist, and most recently was the Aquaculture and Fisheries Operations Manager for Lloyd’s Register. Since starting in July 2020 Polly has hit the ground running to push for the protection of wild salmonids within the aquaculture space


Dr Lorraine Hawkins (River Dee)
Riparian planting and water temperature

Lorraine is the River Director for the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and River Dee Trust, having joined the river team in 2007 as a Biologist. The role is to take forward the organisations to ensure sound management of the rivers, fish and fisheries within the catchment, delivered by a strong, dedicated team of 13. 


Dr Marc Stutter (James Hutton Institute)
Improving water quality through riparian condition and functions

Marc Stutter is a soil and freshwater scientist at James Hutton Institute and an Honorary Professor at Lancaster University. He has wide experience of the environmental mechanisms and management of catchments, especially aspects of river corridors and the cycling and sustainability issues of phosphorus and carbon. This work involves research and advisory positions across the UK and Europe.   


Alison Baker (Forth Rivers Trust)
Opening habitat for migratory fish

Alison Baker is the Director of the Forth Rivers Trust and Clerk to the Forth DSFB. She has an MSc in Environmental Management together with over 20 years of project management experience. Alison previously worked as the Trust’s Forth Invasive Non-Native Species Programme as Programme Coordinator.


Roger Knight (Fisheries Management Scotland)
Protection of our native fish from predation

Roger Knight is the River Director for the River Spey and the chair of the Fisheries Management Scotland Predation Committee. Roger is responsible for a range of projects on the Spey, including various habitat enhancement projects through the Spey Catchment initiative and projects to mitigate or remove barriers to fish passage around the Spey catchment. 


Session 3: Working together to save our wild salmon – The Missing Salmon Alliance

Teresa Dent (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)
The Missing Salmon Alliance

Teresa joined what was then The Game Conservancy, and is now the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) as Chief Executive at the end of 2001. In this role, she has been able to combine her practical and business experience of farming and land management with the conservation prescriptions and policy produced by GWCT’s scientists. Teresa is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, board member of Natural England (the Government Agency for nature conservation in England), is an honorary member of the National Gamekeepers Association and the Grasshoppers Farmer Group, and was awarded a CBE for services to wildlife conservation in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.


Peter Cairns (Scotland: The Big Picture)
Rivers and rewilding: Seeing the big picture

Peter has spent almost three decades as a conservation photographer, videographer, nature tourism operator and environmental communicator. In 2017, he was one of the co-founders of SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, a rewilding charity that supports and enables the transformational recovery of nature across Scotland. Pete now serves as the charity’s Executive Director as well as being a serving board member of Trees for Life.


Dr Colin Bull (Atlantic Salmon Trust)
The Likely Suspects Framework

Following completion of a PhD in 1996 at Glasgow University on juvenile salmon ecology, Colin Bull was involved in fisheries science and management with positions at the Argyll Fisheries Trust, Forth Fisheries Foundation and Loch Lomond Fisheries Trust, and as project manager on the EU-LIFE project: Conservation of Atlantic salmon in Scotland (CASS).  In 2005 Colin took a teaching position in Biological and Environmental Sciences at Stirling University and became a lecturer in 2010 with a focus on freshwater science and management. In September 2019 Colin took on the role of Principal Investigator for the Missing Salmon Alliance on a 5-year secondment from this academic position.


Sandy Bremner (River Dee Trust)
Overcoming Apathy – Getting the policy changes we want

Sandy Bremner is Chair of the River Dee Trust, a lifelong angler, and a former editor and senior manager at the BBC. He has won UK and Scottish awards for his campaigning journalism, and worked on international media-freedom and advocacy projects, including major initiatives in Turkey and Myanmar.