The Wild Salmonid Support Fund, which opens for applications today, will make an additional £120,000 available this year to help support a sustainable future for wild salmon and sea trout in Scottish rivers.
Aimed at tackling the decades long decline of wild salmon and sea trout, the fund will invest in fisheries organisations that work to enhance and protect wild fisheries and habitats.
Created by Salmon Scotland in partnership with Fisheries Management Scotland, and administered by Foundation Scotland, both the wild fisheries and farm-raised salmon industries have been delivering this work as part of each sector’s interests to support and conserve habitats.
Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said, “Salmon Scotland and our member companies are pleased to be able to work with the wild salmon sector to offer these awards with even more investment.
“Along with Fisheries Management Scotland, we recognise and share the concerns over the overall declining status of wild salmonids in Scottish rivers over recent decades.
“Scotland has a rich history of salmon resources and this heritage is reliant on ensuring a long-term future for wild stocks.
“We are committed to the marine environment, and it is in our joint interests to ensure that the waters we share where salmon farms operate are as good an environment for wild fish as they can be.
“Investing in good science and nature restoration projects on Scotland’s rivers is extremely important and will benefit Scotland’s iconic wild salmon and sea trout.
“We look forward to welcoming applications and seeing the results of these projects that are already underway.”
The five-year fund is financed directly by Scotland’s salmon farm companies, and last year more than £70,000 was awarded to five river and fisheries trusts after its launch in April.
Beneficiary organisations included the Lochaber Fisheries Trust, which received almost £20,000 to implement juvenile surveys to assess fish densities and genetic diversity in eight local rivers.
Argyll Fisheries Trust was awarded £18,600 to invest in habitat restoration in the Dalvuie Burn near Oban, with the aim of improving the recruitment of sea trout in local waters.
A further £14,500 was awarded to Wester Ross Fisheries Trust, £10,000 was given to Flow Country Rivers Trust, and Carloway Estate Trust in the Western Isles received over £9,000.
The projects support a vast array of activities including scientific research and manual habitat restoration work in the shared connecting waters where the farm-raised salmon sector operates.
Mercedes Green, fund advisor at Foundation Scotland, said, “following the successful launch of the Wild Salmonid Support Fund in 2021, we’re looking forward to awarding additional funding on behalf of Salmon Scotland.
“Some of last year’s funded projects are well underway and already reporting progress and positive impacts in scientific research, restoration and education.
“We’re looking forward to reviewing the next round of applications and hearing about more innovative projects across Scotland.”
Organisations are encouraged to request grants in the range of £10,000 and £35,000 before the application period closes on Monday 21 March, with a decision to come in the week commencing 23 May. Individual projects should be completed with 18 months of the project being awarded funds.