Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published the salmon and sea trout fishery statistics for the 2010 season

The publication provides an overview of rod and net catch together with net fishing effort based on returns from proprietors/occupiers/agents of salmon and sea trout fisheries throughout Scotland for the 2010 fishing season. These data have been collected since 1952 and summary information for this time period are also provided.  The status of salmon and sea trout stocks as inferred from these statistics are also provided.

Salmon* Total rod catch (retained and released) of 110,496 salmon and grilse in 2010 is the highest on record, an increase of 31 per cent from the previous 5-year average.

* The proportion of the rod catch accounted for by catch and release continues to increase. In 2010, 86 per cent of rod caught spring salmon were released, as was 70 per cent of the annual rod catch.

* Catch and effort for net fisheries remain at historically low levels, and are less than 7 per cent of the maximum recorded since records began in 1952.

Sea Trout* For Scotland as a whole, total rod catch (retained and released) has declined over much of the period since 1952. The catch in 2010 of 27,704 was, however, 34 per cent higher than the previous 5-year average.

* Over the time series as a whole, broad scale geographic differences are apparent in the sea trout fisheries. Overall catches from the west coast have declined while those on the east have shown no clear trend. In 2010, total rod catch continued the recent increase seen in east coast fisheries, but fell back on the west. It is important to note, however, that there is considerable variation at finer scales.

* The proportion of the total rod catch accounted for by catch and release continues to increase. In 2010, 72 per cent of the rod catch of sea trout were released.

* Fishing effort in the net fisheries was the second lowest since records began in 1952. Catches were less than 5 per cent of the maximum recorded.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I am delighted that 2010 produced the highest rod catches of salmon in Scotland ever recorded. These figures come on the back of some successful years, although we must remember that salmon numbers can be affected by many factors. These results illustrate the commitment of many anglers on our salmon rivers to forward looking management.

“That said anglers, by again increasing the percentage of fish that they release, are to be congratulated for playing their part. By releasing 70 per cent of their catch they continue to contribute greatly to the quality of angling opportunity available to themselves and their fellow anglers.

“This government has pledged to continue to support the modernisation of fisheries management in Scotland to enable it to develop as a valued economic driver for the country as a whole – and our rural communities in particular – and we look forward to continuing to work with the sector to achieve this.”