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.

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Latest News

Inland Fisheries Ireland new €2 million funding call for angling projects and conservation initiatives

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Inland Fisheries Ireland announces new fund open to communities nationwide

– Inland Fisheries Ireland Press Release –

– Wednesday, 9th August 2017 –

Sean Kyne TD, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, has today welcomed a new €2 million funding call from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) for angling projects and conservation initiatives.  The funding call, which consists of three separate funding streams, will help ensure that Ireland’s fish stocks and angling infrastructure are protected and enhanced into the future.

Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. Inland Fisheries Ireland promotes, supports, facilitates and advises the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. Inland Fisheries Ireland also develops policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling and advises the Minister on same.

IFI Funding Call 2017

The Inland Fisheries Ireland Funding Call 2017 is made up of the following funds:

  • Salmon Conservation Fund to a maximum of €500,000
  • Midland Fisheries Fund of €50,000
  • National Strategy for Angling Development Fund (NSAD) €1,500,000

Minister Kyne, said: “As Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, I have ensured that significant funding under the National Strategy for Angling Development was available from my Department in 2017 to help Inland Fisheries Ireland develop a wide ranging investment initiative. I welcome the fact that the funding programme is rooted in Community led actions and I support Inland Fisheries Ireland in its enhancement plans.  I also want to encourage Angling Bodies, Community Groups and local authorities to take up the funding opportunity and meet the development challenge at local, regional and National level”.

Inland Fisheries Ireland is inviting applications for funding for projects across a number of areas from fisheries habitat enhancement and sustainable development works to marketing and promotional projects for angling. Applications are invited from groups, associations, clubs, local authorities or other appropriate bodies looking to improve Ireland’s fisheries resource.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Today’s announcement sees Inland Fisheries Ireland make over €2 million available to communities nationwide, for projects which will help contribute to an accessible and sustainable world class inland fisheries and sea angling resource for all. We want to ensure that we continue to invest in conservation, while also developing our angling offering in Ireland.

While the National Strategy for Angling Development funding stream focuses on improving angling access with a view to attracting more domestic and overseas anglers to the pursuit, the Salmon Conservation Fund and Midland Fisheries Fund re-invest the contributions of anglers into valuable initiatives which a view to promoting the recovery of salmon stocks and habitats and supporting sustainable development works in the Midlands respectively.”

Projects eligible for funding under IFI’s Funding Call 2017:

  • Inland Fisheries Ireland is now inviting applications for funding across the following areas:
  • Fisheries habitat enhancement
  • Bank side / shoreline access projects
  • Angling equipment
  • Marketing and promotional projects for angling
  • Funding for undertaking feasibility studies / environmental reports / fisheries development plans
  • Match funding for larger projects to be funded from other sources that contribute to achieving the objectives of the National Strategy for Angling Development.

Regional information workshops:

Inland Fisheries Ireland will hold regional information workshops for those interested in applying for funding with a view to giving participants a better understanding of the various funding streams and how they can apply via an online system. The workshops will take place in:

Date and Time Venue Location
Tuesday 29th August 2017


Clonmel Park Hotel Clonmel

Co. Tipperary

Wednesday 30th August


Castle Hotel Main St, Macroom,

Co. Cork

Thursday 31st August 2017


Maldron Hotel Southern Ring Road,



Monday 04th September 2017


CityNorth Hotel

& Conference Centre


Co. Meath

Tuesday 05th September 2017


Great National Hotel N26 Dublin Rd,


Co. Mayo

Wednesday 06th September 2017


Menlo Park Hotel Headford Rd,

Co. Galway

Tuesday 12th September 2017


Harvey’s Point Country Hotel Lough Eske,

Donegal Town

Thursday 14th September 2017


Athlone Springs Hotel Monksland,


Co. Roscommon

Tuesday 19th – Thursday 21st September 2017

All Day

National Ploughing Championships Screggan,


Co. Offaly

Members of the public who will be attending the workshops are asked to RSVP to funding@fisheriesireland.ie, indicating which workshop they will be going to along with their name and contact details.

The closing date for applications to Inland Fisheries Ireland’s 2017 Funding Call is Friday, 13th of October 2017.

For more information and to apply, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie/funding

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Unprecedented collapse of salmon run in South-West Highlands

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Systematic Government failure to heed warnings regarding the consequences of intensive salmon farming

Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland Press Release –

– 8th August 2017 –

This year’s run of salmon in the most closely monitored river in Argyll is on course to be the lowest on record. The salmon count on the River Awe has hit an all-time low after 30 weeks of the season.

Last year’s total of 807 fish was only slightly above the all-time lowest count. This year it is running at only one third of the 2016 count. If this continues the final total will struggle to reach 400. This would be by far the lowest count of returning salmon to the biggest river in the South-West Highlands since records began in 1965.


River Awe Salmon Count

The Awe is a short river, draining Scotland’s longest loch (Loch Awe), with a hydro-electric dam at its head. There is a fish lift and a counter in the dam. The flow regime is such that fish can run the river any day of the year; almost all the fish are destined for the headwaters and thus there is a full river count which is almost unaffected by the weather.

Roger Brook, Chairman of the Argyll District Salmon Fishery Board, said:

“The Scottish Government has promoted the continued expansion of the salmon aquaculture industry whilst refusing to implement adequate control on the siting of farms and the levels of sea lice on the farms. We call upon Scottish Government to insist that future farms are sited away from the probable migration routes. The worst existing farms, both in terms of location and lice control, should now be closed.”

Mr Brook continued:

“Rivers such as the Awe are facing an uneconomic future but the government appears to care nothing about our iconic west Highland salmon and the important west coast tourist industry associated with recreational fishing. We are facing a very precarious future.”

Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TC Scotland), said:

“Since the arrival of intensive salmon farming, numbers of mature west Highland sea trout have crashed. The decline in wild salmon numbers has not thus far been as extreme but it now appears that in the southern section of the west Highlands the decline is accelerating into a free fall.”

Mr Graham-Stewart added:

“Despite all the warnings regarding the consequences of pursuing the unfettered growth of salmon farming without any meaningful controls to protect wild fish, successive Scottish Governments have blundered on with this policy.”

In an attempt to quantify the effect of salmon aquaculture, a comparison can be made between salmon catches on the East coast of Scotland and the west coast between the Mull of Kintyre and Ardnamurchan Point (South-West Highlands). Between 1970 and 2014 rod catches of salmon on the East coast increased by almost 40%. Over the same time period rod catches in the South-West Highlands declined by 50%. See http://www.salmon-trout.org/pdf/South-WestHighlandsSalmonFishery1.pdf

Juvenile salmon migrating from rivers in the South-West Highlands must run the gauntlet close to lice-producing salmon farms not only in the immediate area but also the whole way up the west coast before they reach open ocean, free of aquaculture. Throughout this coastal migration they are vulnerable to infestation by deadly sea lice. It stands to reason that, the more salmon farms that outgoing juvenile salmon have to negotiate past on their migration to the North Atlantic feeding grounds, the less likely they are to survive.


The other major river in the South-West Highlands is the Lochy, which enters the sea by Fort William. The published rod catch of salmon to the end of July was 33, summed up by the river’s management as “the worst start in recent times.” The catch to the end of July was just 27% of the five year average for the same period. See http://www.fishpal.com/Scotland/Lochaber/lochy/?dom=Pal

In June, 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 early 2018) into salmon farming in Scotland and the issues raised by S&TC Scotland.

S&TC Scotland believes that a future is possible where Scottish salmon farming and wild fish can both thrive but in the medium term this can only be achieved by moving farming into closed containment tank systems, thus preventing the spread of disease and parasites from the farms to wild salmon and sea trout. In the meantime effective regulation of farms to protect wild fish is long overdue.


Issued by Andrew Graham-Stewart (telephone 01863 766767 or 07812 981531) on behalf of Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland.

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Pink Salmon caught in Scotland & Ireland

Saturday, July 22, 2017

In recent weeks, anglers in Scotland and Ireland have reported several captures of fresh run non-native Pink salmon (Oncorhynchusgorbuscha).

In Scotland the Pink salmon have been reported in several rivers including the Dee, Ness and Helmsdale. In Ireland they have been reported in Galway, Mayo and Donegal rivers.

Pink salmon, also known as humpback salmon are a migratory species of salmon, which are native to river systems in the northern Pacific Ocean and regions of the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean.

A stocking programme using Pink salmon was undertaken in the northwest of Russia in the second half of the 20th century. They have now established self-sustaining populations in rivers in northern Norway and in the far northwest of Russia.

It is thought that the Pink salmon being caught in Scotland and Ireland have ‘strayed’ from the populations in northern Norway or Russia.

Pink salmon can be distinguished by the following:

  • Large black oval spots on the tail
  • 11-19 rays on the anal fin
  • Very small scales– much smaller than a similarly-sized Atlantic Salmon
  • No dark spots on the gill cover
  • Upper jaw typically extending beyond the eye

Ian Wood Pink Salmon

Pink salmon caught on Tilbouries, River Dee, 10 July 2017 – Image courtesy of Iain Wood.

Pink Salmon Drowes Salmon Fishery

Pink salmon caught on the Drowes Salmon Fishery, Ireland – Image courtsey of Drowes Salmon Fishery.


Mature Pink salmon showing humpback feature – Image courtesy of Nigel Fell.

Pink Salmon spawn at a different time from our native Atlantic salmon, have a 2-year lifecycle and generally spawn in summer. Often in main river channels, in the lower reaches of rivers, and sometimes in upstream tributaries.

Fisheries Management Scotland said: “Whilst it is theoretically possible that these non-native species could establish themselves in Scottish rivers, the higher water temperatures make this unlikely.”

Inland Fisheries Ireland is “asking members of the public who catch a Pink Salmon to contact Inland Fisheries Ireland without delay and to record date & location of capture, length & weight of fish and to take a photograph of the fish. The fish should be kept for further examination by Inland Fisheries Ireland.”

AST Research Director Prof Ken Whelan said: “All anglers should be on alert for dead or dying pink kelts from now until October. It would be a good idea to take photographs and exact co-ordinates  using their smart phones.”

Management organisations in both Ireland and Scotland have concerns, although the risk to native Atlantic salmon are not yet fully known.

Please use the links below for more information and guidance:

Fisheries Management Scotland – “Pacific Pink salmon Advice note: July 2017”

Inland Fisheries Ireland – “Mysterious Pink Salmon reported in West of Ireland River Systems – Inland Fisheries Ireland appeals to public to help identify and report sightings”

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Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland Campaign and Petition leads to Parliamentary Inquiry into Scottish salmon farming

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A formal Petition, lodged in the Scottish Parliament in February 2016 by Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland, seeking protection for wild salmonids from sea lice from Scottish salmon farms, has resulted in MSPs launching an Inquiry into the salmon farming industry in Scotland.

The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee of MSPs agreed at Holyrood this week to conduct a full-blown Inquiry into salmon farming in Scotland and the issues raised in S&TCS’ Petition.

Guy Linley-Adams, for S&TCS, said:

“We are delighted that MSPs of all parties have shown such concern and interest and we thank them for launching this Inquiry. This will enable S&TCS to bring all MSPs attention to what they can do to protect Scotland’s iconic wild salmon and sea trout, and the wider Scottish environment, from the damage it is currently suffering as a result of salmon farming in marine open cages.

“This is a vindication of what S&TCS has been saying for some years. It hasn’t always been a very popular message in some quarters, but the message has now got through and MSPs have taken the first steps towards a solution”.

S&TCS’ Aquaculture Campaign’s 2016 Petition recommends that the Scottish Parliament should seek to amend the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007 to give Scottish Ministers a statutory duty to inspect farms and enforce sea lice control on salmon farms. This is for the express purpose of protecting wild salmonid fish from juvenile sea lice infestation from marine cage fish farms, and statutory powers to order immediate culls of any marine cage fish farm where average adult female sea lice numbers of farmed fish remain persistently above Code of Good Practice thresholds.

Over the medium term, S&TCS argues that those farms consistently failing to control sea lice should be closed or relocated to move the worst performing farms away from salmonid rivers and migration routes.

Finally, S&TCS supports a renewed focus on moving to full closed containment of farmed salmon production in Scotland, with complete ‘biological separation’ of wild and farmed fish.

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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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