Today, Wednesday 26th May, saw the release of the official Scottish Government 2020 catch statistics for salmon and sea trout. This confirms that the reported rod catch of salmon (45,366) is the third lowest since records began, and 92% of the previous 5-year average.  Total reported rod catch of sea trout (13,313) is the lowest since records began. These figures relate to a period in which all rivers were closed to angling due to the COVID19 public health crisis.

Dr Alan Wells, Chief Executive of Fisheries Management Scotland said, “It is difficult to draw firm conclusions from the 2020 catch statistics due to the spring lockdown and subsequent travel restrictions which had a significant impact on angling effort. Whilst many rivers recorded good catches in the circumstances, it is clear that the number of salmon and sea trout returning to Scottish waters remains of significant concern.

“Despite the challenges posed by COVID19, Scotland’s District Salmon Fishery Boards, and Rivers and Fisheries Trusts continue to work hard to protect Scotland’s iconic salmon and sea trout populations.

Before the Scottish Parliamentary elections Fisheries Management Scotland challenged candidates from all major parties to commit to urgent action to save the species and protect whole river systems from the growing impacts of climate change. This commitment included three vital measures:

  • Make saving Scotland’s salmon a national conservation priority.
  • Fund the planting of native trees beside those rivers which Marine Scotland Science has identified as vulnerable to damaging temperature rises.
  • Implement in full the unanimous recommendations of the Salmon Interactions Working Group, which was established by the Scottish Government, comprising wild salmon conservation bodies and the fish farming industry.

“It is now time for the Scottish Government and Agencies to get behind fisheries managers and do everything in their power to safeguard the species in those areas where they can make a difference.”


Notes to news editors:

Contact: Dr Alan Wells – Chief Executive | |07557 133455 |

Summary of the salmon fishery catch statistics for the 2020 season

Summary of the sea trout fishery statistics for the 2020 season

Fisheries Management Scotland is the representative body for Scotland’s network of District Salmon Fishery Boards (DSFBs), the River Tweed Commission and Rivers and Fisheries Trusts. We work to promote and ensure the protection, preservation, and development of Scotland’s wild salmon and freshwater fish, along with their fisheries and the wider environment on which they rely. Fisheries Management Scotland contribute to a wide range of workstreams and working groups covering a range of pressures faced by our iconic Atlantic salmon, sea trout and other freshwater fish.

Declining rod catches have a knock-on effect on fragile rural economies and reduce the ability of managers to raise money to support management and restoration activities. The most recent Scotland-wide economic impact assessment of wild fisheries indicated around £135m of angler expenditure, 4,300 full-time equivalent jobs and £79.9m Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2014 – the monetary value of the contribution to the economy made by an industry.