Final call for funding bids to help save the ‘king of fish’

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Fishery and community groups have been urged to bid for a share of a £145,000 funding pot aimed at conserving Scotland’s iconic wild salmon.

Organisations and projects have until 31 March to apply to Salmon Scotland’s Wild Fisheries Fund.

The fund is part of a £1.5m commitment from Scotland’s salmon farmers to support the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of wild salmon populations.

It was set up to help stem the decades-long decline in wild fish numbers through habitat protection, protection from predators, and restocking programmes.

Habitat loss and rising river temperatures primarily due to climate change have impacted on wild salmon and sea trout populations throughout the UK and all over the Scottish coastline.

Salmon farming companies launched the fund to play their part finding solutions, engaging constructively with the wild fish sector and taking meaningful action to save wild salmon.

The initiative, previously called the “Wild Salmonid Fund”, has already invested more than £190,000 since 2021 in restoration projects to reduce riverbank erosion and measures to provide tree canopy and in-stream cover for young salmon.

Decisions on grants will be taken by Salmon Scotland in April, and the fund is being co-ordinated by Fishery Manager Jon Gibb. He said: “The Wild Fisheries Fund represents a rare and exceptional opportunity to access vital funds to improve their local rivers and lochs.

“I am looking forward to receiving strong applications from a diverse range of bodies in the wild sector.

“The fund aims to support projects of all sizes that aim to improve conservation and biodiversity.

“As someone who has worked on Scotland’s salmon rivers for many years, I know we are facing a species on the brink of extinction in some places.

“Wild salmon are in a deep and dire crisis, and the aquaculture sector can play a vital role in mitigating their decline.”

Jon Gibb at Drimsallie

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