Fewer wild salmon were caught last year than in any of the previous 70 years, renewing fears that the species is in crisis. Some 37,000 were caught in 2018, two-thirds of the average over the previous five years, and far fewer than the 111,400 caught in 2010. A major factor in the decline is thought to be last year’s unusually hot summer, which caused some rivers to dry up, and left many migrating salmon trapped in estuaries. Indeed, 2014, 2015 and 2016 have turned out to be the hottest years, in terms of average temperatures, since records began. Yet there is clearly a longer term trend at work, and conservationists have warned that a range of factors are to blame, including pollution from farm waste, an increase in man-made obstructions in rivers and the spread of parasitic sea lice from salmon farms on Scotland’s west coast. Dr Alan Wells, chief executive of Fisheries Management Scotland, called for conservation of wild salmon to be made a “national priority”.
Picture shows salmon decimated by sea lice!