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What is CASS?

Starting in 2004 and running until mid-2008, with a budget of 3M, the Conservation of Atlantic Salmon in Scotland is the single most significant salmon conservation project ever undertaken in Scotland. The project is co-financed by the EU under the LIFE-Nature programme and includes partners from both the public (District Salmon Fisheries Boards, Fisheries Trusts, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Executive, Forestry Commission, Crown Estate) and private sectors (Scottish Hydro Electric).

Our overall objective is to safeguard and maintain the abundance and diversity of Atlantic salmon in Scotland. This will be done by improving of freshwater habitats, and salmon management regimes through joint working and partnership initiatives on eight key Scottish salmon rivers. The LIFE project will also provide a major vehicle for the raising of awareness of the needs of the species both to stakeholders and the general public.


The project aims to deliver the following outputs:

Objective and Outcome of the project aims
Objective The outcome of this will be...
Increase the extent of freshwater habitat by bypassing, removing or mitigating 25 man-made obstacles. Opening or improving access to 187 km of habitat on 5 rivers.
Improve the extent and quality of spawning and juvenile habitat through in-stream works. Improving Over 39060 m3 of freshwater habitat on 2 rivers.
Prevent erosion of riverbank habitat due to uncontrolled grazing. Fencing over 88 km of riverbank habitat on 3 rivers.
Reduce siltation of spawning and juvenile habitat. Stabilising 2816 m of eroding bank on 2 rivers.
Reduce agricultural sediment into the River Dee. Installing silt traps to prevent sediment input into the river.
Improve riverbank woodland habitat.

Diversifying 39 km of riparian woodland on 4 rivers

Removing and diversifying 140.6 ha of coniferous plantation forest on 4 rivers.

Stimulate natural recolonisation and spawning in newly restored areas. Restocking re-connected or improved areas of juvenile habitat with hatchery-reared local salmon on 2 rivers.
Encourage sustainable use of gravel in salmon rivers.

Establishing a code of practice for gravel extraction on the River Tay.

Establish a best practice guidance for other salmon rivers in Scotland.

Purchase netting rights on 2 rivers. Cessation of commercial netting.
Encourage the extension of interest, information , and conservation management practices , and the support of the public and private stakeholders in salmon conservation.

Holding awareness-raising events

Using the "Salmon in the Classroom" programme at local primary schools on each river area

Erecting 30 interpretation boards at selected sites on each river.

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Picture of work in progress Picture of two children looking at salmon eggs Picture of forestry works on riverbank