News

New plan for Atlantic salmon in Galloway
23/05/2007
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) have published a new plan to help guide the conservation of one of south Scotland's most threatened species - the Atlantic salmon, also known as the 'King of Fish'. The plan has been drawn up for the River Bladnoch in west Galloway, one of a network of Scottish rivers developing such plans.

In recent years Atlantic salmon have suffered such a decline in numbers throughout the North Atlantic region that they have been placed on a list of species whose conservation requires special effort. This has included the designation of Special Areas of Conservation throughout Europe, which protect certain rivers, like the Bladnoch, under European law. As salmon fishing is very important to the local economy, a healthy salmon population is also essential to support local businesses dependent on attracting fishermen to this part of the world.

Chris Miles, SNH Area Manager explained: "The River Bladnoch is particularly special because it is one of the few rivers in Scotland still supporting a population of Atlantic salmon that has a 'spring run', in addition to the summer and autumn spawning runs. At these times of the year salmon born in the Bladnoch migrate from the sea to the upper reaches of the river to lay their eggs.

"The new plan provides help and advice for anyone who is proposing, undertaking or managing work within the river catchment area that could influence the river or its
wildlife, particularly the salmon population. The aim is to ensure that Atlantic salmon continue to survive and thrive within this special river system."

The plan has been drawn up by key local organisations including Scottish Natural Heritage, the River Bladnoch District Salmon Fishery Board, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Forestry Commission Scotland and Forest Enterprise. The Galloway Fisheries Trust drafted much of the plan, consulting with local land managers and gathering information on behalf of SNH.

Jamie Ribbens of Galloway Fisheries Trust said: "The River Bladnoch salmon population is extremely important for economic, social and biodiversity reasons. The Galloway Fisheries Trust works closely with anglers, landowners and agencies to protect and enhance the populations of these fish. In helping to develop this plan with SNH we are confident that the future management of the river is now clearly laid out and its habitats, and key species, will be safeguarded for the long term."

Peter McDougall, chairman of the Bladnoch District Salmon Fishery Board commented: "The Bladnoch District Fishery Board are delighted that the catchment management plan is now complete and ready to be implemented. We look forward to working with all the agencies in meeting its recommendations and hope that the Atlantic salmon population will thrive and increase, particularly the 'spring' salmon which have been in very serious decline."


Further information is available from Nancy Fraser, SNH Press and Public Relations Officer West Scotland Tel: 0141 951 4488 e mail: nancy.fraser@snh.gov.uk

For Gaelic media enquiries please contact Shona MacLellan, Gaelic Communications Officer Tel: 01463 725038 e mail: shona.maclellan@snh.gov.uk