Scotland’s wild fish interests have invited candidates in the forthcoming Holyrood election to sign a pledge committing to protect wild salmon and sea trout. The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) and the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) issued the invitation on April 15th and to date 23 candidates have signed.

The pledge reads: ‘If elected, I pledge to work towards the protection of our iconic wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout and the habitats on which they depend.

Dr Alan Wells, Policy and Planning Director for ASFB, explained: “The wild Atlantic salmon is one of Scotland’s the most iconic natural species. However our wild salmon and sea trout are under threat from a wide range of human activities. With this in mind we have invited those standing in the May election to sign a simple pledge which affirms that they will strive to ensure that our migratory fish are given appropriate protection”.

Callum Sinclair, Director of RAFTS, said: “Fisheries and rivers trusts are working with fishery boards across a wide range of projects to protect the Atlantic salmon and its habitats. These projects include: aquaculture interactions and impacts; eradication of invasive non-native species which threaten native species; cutting edge genetic studies, which are beginning to unravel the true diversity of salmon in Scotland’s rivers; and the ongoing implementation of fishery management plans developed to support and prioritise management actions. Political support is vital to help ensure that Atlantic salmon and sea trout remain in Scotland’s rivers for future generations to appreciate and enjoy”.

The names of all signatories to date are listed on a dedicated Facebook page (asfb-rafts). They will also be posted on both the ASFB and RAFTS websites ( and In due course the full list of signatories will be shared with members of wild fisheries and angling groups across Scotland.

Issued on behalf of ASFB and RAFTS by Andrew Graham-Stewart (telephone 01863 766767 or 07812 981531). For further information please contact: Dr Alan Wells, Policy and Planning Director for ASFB, on 0131 272 2797 or 07557 133455.

Editors’ Notes

  1. The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards is the representative body for Scotland’s 41 District Salmon Fishery Boards (DSFBs) including the River Tweed Commission (RTC), who have a statutory responsibility to protect and improve salmon and sea trout fisheries. Conservation of fish stocks, and the habitats on which they depend, is essential and many DSFBs operate riparian habitat enhancement schemes and have voluntarily adopted ‘catch and release’ practices, which in some cases are made mandatory by the introduction of Salmon Conservation Regulations. ASFB create policies that seek where possible to protect wider biodiversity and our environment as well as enhancing the economic benefits for our rural economy that result from angling. An analysis completed in 2004 demonstrated that freshwater angling in Scotland results in the Scottish economy producing over £100 million worth of annual output, which supports around 2,800 jobs and generates nearly £50million in wages and self- employment into Scottish households, most of which are in rural areas.
  2. Formed in 2005, Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) is an independent freshwater conservation charity representing Scotland’s national network of 25 rivers and fisheries Trusts and Foundations. Our members work across over 90% of Scotland’s freshwaters to protect and develop our native fish stocks and populations by undertaking a range of activities including freshwater, river habitat restoration, fish and fisheries monitoring, research and education programmes. RAFTS is the membership organisation of the fisheries and rivers trusts operating in Scotland and is, itself, a charity and company limited by guarantee.
  3. The following candidates have signed up as of April 20th:
  • Richard Lochhead (SNP): Moray (List – Highlands & Islands)
  • Mike Pringle (Lib Dem): Edinburgh Southern
  • William G Walker (SNP): Dunfermline (List – Mid Scotland & Fife)
  • Dennis Robertson (SNP): Aberdeenshire West (List – North-East Scotland)
  • Elaine Murray (Lab): Dumfriesshire (List – South of Scotland)
  • Colin Davidson (Lab): North East Fife
  • Victor Clements (Lib Dem): Perthshire North
  • Mike MacKenzie (SNP): List – Highlands & Islands
  • Euan Robson (Lib Dem): Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire
  • Hugh Campbell Adamson (Con): Angus South (List – North East Scotland)
  • Edward Mountain (Con): Caithness Sutherland & Ross (List – Highlands & Islands)
  • Hugh O’Donnell (Ind): List – Central Scotland
  • Andrew Page (Lib Dem): Renfrewshire North and West
  • Peter Kennerley (Con): Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley
  • Ettie Spencer (Lib Dem): East Lothian (List – South of Scotland)
  • Margaret Burgess (SNP): Cunninghame South
  • Rod Campbell (SNP): North East Fife (List – Mid Scotland & Fife)
  • Colin McGavigan (Con): Clydesdale (List – South of Scotland)
  • Kirsten Robb (Green): List – Central Scotland
  • Jamie McGrigor (Con): Argyll & Bute (List – Highlands & Islands)
  • John Lamont (Con): Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire
  • Drew Hendry (SNP): List – Highlands & Islands John Scott (Con): Ayr (List – South of Scotland)