The Atlantic Salmon Trust was Founded in 1967 in response to growing concerns about over exploitation of wild salmon in the Faroes and Greenland Coastal waters.

Since then we have acquired a reputation as an influential advocate for salmon conservation within the United Kingdom. Traditionally our work has been in the freshwater environment, but more recently we have focused on the lives of wild salmon at sea.

Latest News

Dr. Derek Mills

Monday, February 5, 2018

It was with great sadness that we learned last week of the death of Dr. Derek Mills on the 29th January 2018.

Derek was a former HSAP, Council Member and Chairman of the Atlantic Salmon Trust. He was author of the book “Saving Scotland’s Salmon” published in 2009 and of a book on the history of the Atlantic Salmon Trust, “Salmon in Trust” published in 2014.

The funeral will take place on the 6th February at 11am at the Borders Crematorium.



Derek has been involved with salmon since 1953 as a scientist, university teacher, consultant and administrator. He was in charge of the Salmon Research Laboratory in Contin under the direction of the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory in Pitlochry for a number of years before being appointed a senior lecturer and fellow in the Institute of Ecology and Resource Management at the University of Edinburgh. During his thirty years at the University he held a number of extra-mural appointments. He served as consultant biologist to the Scottish Branch of the Salmon and Trout Association; fishery adviser to the North of Scotland Hydro-electric Board (and then Scottish Hydro-electric), he was fishery consultant to Central Scotland Water Board, Fife and Kinross Water Board and Grampian Regional Council. He set up the Scottish branch of the Institute of Fisheries Management and was its first chairman. He was also a committee member of the Tweed River Purification  Board, the South-East Regional Board of the Nature Conservancy Council Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scientific Advisory Committee of Scottish Natural Heritage and a trustee of the Tweed Foundation and Cromarty Firth Fisheries Trust.

Derek was on the Honorary Scientific Advisory Panel of the Atlantic Salmon Trust for over thirty years and was its chairman for ten.

His work as a fisheries consultant also took him south of the border and he was Consultant to the Welsh National Water Development Board and the Wye River Authority working on the proposed Craig Goch Reservoir Scheme.

He was editor of Blackwell’s journals Fisheries Management (1974 – 84) and Journal of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management(1985 – 93), and on the Editorial Board of Elsevier’s journal Fisheries Research.

(source: Medlar Press https://www.medlarpress.com)


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Environmental impacts of salmon farming

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the environmental impact of salmon farming in Scotland.

The ECCLR Committee is carrying out this work in advance of the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee’s forthcoming inquiry on aquaculture in Scotland, the terms of reference for which will be considered in the coming weeks. The ECCLR Committee’s focus is the report commissioned by SPICe and undertaken by SAMS Research Services Ltd.

This report contains a review of literature on the environmental impacts of salmon farming in Scotland, the scale of the impacts and approaches to mitigating the impacts. The report provides an update of the Scottish Government commissioned report: Review and synthesis of the environmental impacts of aquaculture, published in 2002.

The ECCLR Committee is interested in receiving views directly on the SAMS Research Services Ltd report and its contents. The Committee will not be considering wider issues in relation to the salmon farming sector as this is a matter for the REC Committee.

Details of how to submit your views to the Committee can be found on the Scottish Parliament Website (link given below). The deadline for response is Thursday 8 February 2018. This timetable is to allow the ECCLR Committee to report to the REC Committee ahead of its wider inquiry. Submissions received after 8 February will not be considered by the ECCLR Committee.


For more information on the inquiry and how to submit your views please go to the Scottish Parliament Website: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/107588.aspx

30th January 2018: Evidence from the Scottish Association for Marine Science to the ECCLR Committee can be viewed here:   https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/environment-climate-change-and-land-reform-committee-january-30-2018

6th February 2018: Evidence session with stakeholders: Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, Scottish Environment Link, Friends of the Sound of Jura, Loch Duart, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Scottish Government and Highland Council. Can be viewed here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/environment-climate-change-and-land-reform-committee-february-6-2018

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Impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New report concludes: Considerable evidence exists that there is a link between farm-intensive areas and the spread of salmon lice to wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout.

The report, produced by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and commissioned by Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TC Scotland) has summarised available and up to date research on the impact of salmon lice (sea lice) from salmon farms. It concludes that the effects of salmon lice from fish farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout populations can be severe – ultimately reducing the number of adult fish due to salmon lice induced mortality, resulting in reduced stocks and reduced opportunities for fisheries. Depending on the population size of wild fish, elevated salmon lice levels can also result in too few spawners to reach conservation limits.

The report, Impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, is published by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Norway’s leading institution for applied ecological research. It authors Prof. Eva B. Thorstad and Dr. Bengt Finstad, are internationally recognised for their expertise in sea lice biology and the interactions between salmon farming and wild fish.

The report draws the following conclusions (pg. 15):


Scientific studies indicate that salmon farming increases the abundance of salmon lice in the marine habitat and that salmon lice in the most intensively farmed areas have negatively impacted wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout populations. The effects of salmon lice on Atlantic salmon and sea trout include increased marine mortality, reduced marine growth, and for sea trout as changes in migratory behaviour. Published studies range from those investigating the effects of salmon lice on individual fish, both in the laboratory and the field, to analyses of their impacts on wild populations.

Conclusions are based on comprehensive studies of the effects by salmon lice, which include:

1) Studies of individual fish in laboratory and field studies documenting (i) tissue damage, (ii) problems with salt regulation and other physiological stress responses, (iii) reduced growth, and (iv) increased susceptibility to secondary infections and reduced disease resistance. One or more of these effects have frequently been reported to occur as the result of heavy salmon lice infestations.

2) Studies documenting premature migratory return to freshwater of sea trout with high levels of salmon lice. Premature migratory return may facilitate individual survival and recovery from infestation, but reduce growth and thereby future reproduction by reducing the time spent feeding at sea. Sea trout with excessive skin lesions also may be more vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infection in fresh-water.

3) Studies based on catch statistics and routine population monitoring utilizing in-river traps that have indicated salmon lice-induced changes in population abundance, age structure and altered life history characteristics.

4) Monitoring of salmon lice levels on wild fish.

5) Comparisons of salmon lice levels in farm-intensive and less farm-intensive (or farm-free) areas.

6) Indications of population-level effects on sea trout based on monitoring of salmon lice levels on wild fish in relation to experimentally determined threshold levels known to induce physiological compromise and mortality of individual fish.

7) Quantification of Atlantic salmon mortality due to salmon lice in large-scale field studies by comparing growth and marine survival of salmon treated with prophylactic chemicals against salmon lice with un-protected control groups.

In sum, the combined knowledge from scientific studies provides evidence of a general and pervasive negative effect of salmon lice on salmonid populations in intensively farmed areas of Ireland, Norway and Scotland. Premature migratory return, increased marine mortality and reduced growth of survivors that are induced by elevated salmon lice levels inevitably imply a reduction in numbers and body size of fish returning to freshwater for spawning, and hence in number of fish available to fisheries. Levels of additional mortality by salmon lice as indicated in several scientific studies may result in salmon stocks not achieving river specific conservation limits and, if sustained over time, could result in significant cumulative reductions in adult salmon recruitment.

The report was published on 10th January 2018 and is available at http://hdl.handle.net/11250/2475746 or at https://www.salmon-trout.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Thorstad-Finstad-2018-Impacts-of-salmon-lice-NINA-Report-1449-2.pdf

In June 2017, the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, in response to a formal Petition lodged in the Scottish Parliament in February 2016 by S&TC Scotland seeking protection for wild salmonids from sea lice from Scottish salmon farms, agreed to launch an Inquiry (scheduled for 2018) into salmon farming in Scotland.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Proceedings of the 2nd International Sea Trout Symposium held in Dundalk, Republic of Ireland, on 20 – 22 October 2015. Now Available in Hardback.

The brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) is a ‘plastic’ species that exists in many different forms in response to its evolutionary history and the variable conditions in its local environment. Widely distributed and generally abundant throughout its natural range in Western Europe, some forms remain in freshwater to complete their entire life-cycle as ‘resident trout’ while others adopt an anadromous habit to become ‘sea trout’ that migrate to sea to feed and grow before returning to freshwater to spawn. Thus, the brown trout, with its ability to occupy small streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries and the sea, demonstrates a flexible continuum in its complex life history that presents major challenges for its conservation, regulation and management.

Often overlooked and taken-for-granted by management agencies in the past, the continuing decline in stocks of co-dwelling Atlantic salmon has increased the importance of the sea trout in sustaining socially and economically valuable recreational and commercial fisheries and as a biological indicator of the health of the aquatic environment in both fresh water and the sea. It is also the custodian of a remarkable range of genetic biodiversity within a single species.

This important new volume updates developments in the science and management of the enigmatic sea trout in the Northwest Atlantic since the 1st International Symposium on ‘Sea Trout: Biology, Conservation & Management’ in Cardiff, Wales in July 2004. It includes 30 peer-reviewed papers by acknowledged experts under the broad themes of:

  • Understanding Anadromy
  • Populations & Management
  • Movement & Migration
  • Monitoring & Surveillance
  • Ecology & Behaviour
  • Threat Assessment

To see full contents list click HERE.

Although useful progress has been made in addressing the principal recommendations for management action identified at the 1st Symposium, notably in the key topic areas of marine migrations, stock assessment, population modelling, genetic stock identification and in understanding the links between genetics, environmental conditions and life history variation, progress on other key topics has been less fruitful. The final chapter identifies 13 management priorities of strategic importance that are common to most sea trout producing nations where further work is required to fill the major gaps in our knowledge that limit our ability to manage the resource in ways that are sustainable: both now and in the future.

This significant publication represents an important new source of future reference material for Government Departments and their respective management agencies, universities and other research institutions, and the many voluntary bodies representing fisheries and wildlife stakeholder interests throughout Europe.

Sea trout book cover copy

SEA TROUT: SCIENCE & MANAGEMENT – Published November 2017 and now available in Hardback (585 pages)

Price €70.00 (plus postage & packing)

Order direct from Inland Fisheries Ireland: either online at http://seatroutsymposium.org/ or by telephone (+353 01 884 2600)

These proceedings have been self-published to reduce the cover price and so promote their widest possible distribution. Nett income from sales will be used to promote future initiatives that progress sea trout science and management.

ST Book Logos

Copies of the companion ‘Book of Proceedings’ of the 1st International Sea trout Symposium on ‘Sea Trout: Biology Conservation & Management’ published in 2006 are still available (in either hardback or as an E-book) from http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1405129913.html


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Policy and Research

The job of the Trust is to show people how both species can be conserved and managed to enable their value to society to be realised sustainably. The Trust’s work concentrates on improving our knowledge of these fish, their habitats and their complex and fascinating life histories, and the threats to their survival. Until recently this knowledge was confined mainly to the freshwater aspects of their life cycle, but the AST is now focusing on the migration and marine phase of their life cycle.
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Current Priorities

As the UK's only charity whose work is devoted exclusively to the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, the AST's focus is on the whole lives of these fish, in both freshwater and marine environments. Our current priority is to find out why and where salmon and sea trout are dying and the AST is directing its focus on the migration of salmonids, and the lower river, coastal and marine environment.
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Activities and Services

The Trust facilitates research, undertakes projects, organises events and communicates its findings to anglers, fishery managers, owners and the public. To keep our Friends and Supporters informed the Trust will be publishing an annual report, issuing monthly news updates and news flashes and maintaining an up-to-date website.
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