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.

This year our major piece of work is The Missing Salmon Project, this comprises of two major components:
1. The Likely Suspects Framework
2. The Missing Salmon Project

Over £1million is needed to support this work.


There are two ways that you can support the Atlantic Salmon Trust Campaigns:
1. Make a bid on the Atlantic Salmon Trust online auction: www.astauction.com
2. Make a donation to the Crowd Funding Campaign: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/themissingsalmonproject

It is also possible to make a donation directly to the Trust. Please contact pamela@atlanticsalmontrust.org

Latest News

AST ONLINE AUCTION IS NOW LIVE! www.astauction.com

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Atlantic Salmon Trust auction is now live and runs until 18.00 on the 1st July 2018.

To download the 2018 auction catalogue and our annual review please click here: AST Auction Catalogue & Review 2018

To go directly to the auction website please click here: www.astauction.com

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Catch and Release

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Salmon caught during the season will remain in the river for many months before spawning and the need to treat them with utmost care when returning them to continue their journey is vitally important.

As a key player in the world of salmon fishing Fishpal CEO, and AST Ambassador, Mark Cockburn, wanted to increase the awareness of catch and release for salmon conservation through the FishPal site: www.fishpal.com/index.asp

Each year the site receives over 24 million page views and 850,000 visitors buying permits, checking information and news on latest catches for fisheries across the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland.

Mark and Anne (Fishpal Marketing Director) approached the Atlantic Salmon Trust requesting their advice and assistance in producing an advisory film for anglers on catch and release.

The Atlantic Salmon Trust Research Director Prof. Ken Whelan filmed a series of ten minute films called The Gift (CLICK HERE TO VIEW) to promote the message of best practice for fishing for salmon.

The advice in each film is based on scientific evidence and is aimed at minimising the damage to released fish from angling.

The location chosen was the River Tyne which has recorded the highest catch of salmon in England and Wales since 1998, thanks to the conservation work on the river. The beat was Bywell which didn’t disappoint. During the two days a total of three fish were caught by our youngest angler Jess England (19) and eldest Tom Robinson (78), ably assisted by their ghillie Terry Paton.  All of the research to date clearly indicates that if properly handled the vast majority of rod caught salmon survive to spawn. In releasing their wild salmon anglers are making an invaluable contribution to salmon conservation.

Why did we call it The Gift? A 6lb hen will produce 5,000 eggs, while a 20-pounder could shed 15,000 eggs, by putting the fish back you are giving a gift back to the river of eggs.

We all have a social conscience to spread the word to others and to demonstrate that we are responsible guardians for the future of salmon.

Anne Woodcock


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Demand for immediate moratorium on salmon farm expansion

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The AST and 26 other organisations have today supported a call led by Salmon & Trout Conservation for a moratorium on new open cage marine salmon farms or expansion of existing sites, until issues raised by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLR) Committee in their report (www.parliament.scot/S5_Environment/Inquiries/20180305_GD_to_Rec_salmon_farming.pdf) to the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC)Committee are addressed.

The AST is a research based organisation which has serious concerns about the impact of open cage salmon farming on wild salmon and sea trout populations and the environment, as have been reported in peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed publications. We therefore support a pause in the expansion of open cage salmon farming at this time.

You still have time to send your views to the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee inquiry: www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/107585.aspx


Demand for immediate moratorium on salmon farm expansion

Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TC Scotland) is today leading a call for an immediate moratorium on any new open cage marine salmon farms in Scotland or any expansion of existing sites.

The call is supported by a wide cross section of 27 environmental NGOs and other bodies, demanding that:

Until the current failings in the regulation of the salmon farming industry and the environmental problems the industry causes, as identified by the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee, are resolved, there must be an immediate moratorium on any new marine open cage fish farms or any expansion of existing fish farm sites, including any increases in farmed fish biomass at existing sites, as any expansion of the industry now will be unsustainable and may cause irrecoverable damage to the environment.

The call for an immediate moratorium is supported and endorsed by Angling Trust, Argyll District Salmon Fishery Board, Argyll Fisheries Trust, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Community of Arran Seabed Trust, Fauna & Flora International, Fish Legal, Friends of Loch Etive, Friends of the Sound of Jura, Lochaber District Salmon Fishery Board, Lochaber Fisheries Trust, National Trust for Scotland, Orkney Trout Fishing Association, Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust, Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland, Scottish Anglers National Association, Salmon Aquaculture Reform Network Scotland, Save Seil Sound, Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network, Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust, Scottish Salmon Think-Tank, Skye District Salmon Fishery Board, Skye & Lochalsh Environment Forum, Skye & Wester Ross Fisheries Trust, Wester Ross Area Salmon Fishery Board and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of S&TC Scotland, said:

“The all-party ECCLR Committee of the Scottish Parliament unanimously agreed their report in March and concluded that the current consenting and regulatory framework for the salmon farming industry is inadequate to address the environmental issues. They were not convinced the sector is being regulated sufficiently, or regulated sufficiently effectively, and made it clear that this needs to be addressed urgently because further expansion must be on an environmentally sustainable basis.

They also said that if the current issues are not addressed this expansion will be unsustainable and may cause irrecoverable damage to the environment, concluding ‘the status quo is not an option’.

As it stands, these issues remain completely unresolved and, as the oral evidence given on April 18 to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee by SEPA, the Crown Estate, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Highland Council shows, we are a very long way from addressing them”.

Last week alone, the Highland Council granted planning permission for two new salmon farms on Skye and the Argyll and Bute Council permitted an increase in biomass of farmed fish on two farms on Loch Fyne, where the record of sea lice control and mortalities on The Scottish Salmon Company farms over the last two production cycles has been amongst the worst in Scotland.

Guy Linley-Adams, Solicitor for S&TC Scotland, said:

“If planning departments don’t believe that the firm conclusions of the ECCLR Committee’s report are sufficient to enable them to refuse such applications and so are carrying on with business as usual, then we need a moratorium now.

If we agree with the MSPs on the ECCLR Committee that further expansion must be sustainable and that, unless current issues are addressed, any expansion will be unsustainable and may cause irrecoverable damage, there can be no other logical conclusion.

Nobody, not even the salmon farmers themselves, should be supporting expansion while current environmental issues are still to be addressed.”


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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

— The Missing Salmon Project announced to track salmon in the Moray Firth —

— Crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds to find cause of species’ decline —

An international scale project which aims to track scores of wild Atlantic salmon over the next two years was launched in the Highlands of Scotland today as part of the largest effort in Europe to-date to halt the decline of the species.

Anglers gathered at the River Garry to herald the beginning of the Missing Salmon Project, which hopes to discover why this iconic fish is in such sharp decline, essential if effective measures are to be found to reverse their fortunes.

The organisation behind the project, the Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST), announced it is aiming to raise £1million to support the tracking project. The Crowdfunding initiative forms just part of the overall campaign. The marine survival of the wild salmon population has declined by 70% in just 25 years.

Executive director of the AST, Sarah Bayley Slater, said: “Salmon have been around for more than 60million years, but their future looks very bleak indeed. If the decline we’ve seen across the Atlantic and in Scotland continues, the wild Atlantic salmon could be an endangered species in our lifetime.

“In launching the Missing Salmon Project, we are making our stand now and giving our generation a chance to save the species before it’s too late.”

The Missing Salmon Project will supplement the work the AST is carrying out with international partners in preparing a Suspects Framework, which identifies and aims to quantify the causes for salmon mortality on their journey from river to sea and back again.

Working with partners across the Moray Firth, scientists are to tag scores of fish in order to determine which of these suspects are likely responsible, with The Missing Salmon Project looking to raise £1million, through corporate sponsorship, grants and donations and the crowdfunder, to pay for the tags and the acoustic receivers that track the salmon’s journey.

Dr Matthew Newton is the tracking co-ordinator for the AST.

“If we’re going to have a meaningful impact on reversing the Atlantic salmon’s decline, we need to tag and track fish on a scale never seen before in Europe,” he said.

“By tagging the fish and tracking their progress from their spawning ground and back again, we’ll be able to pinpoint where fish are being lost – and help identify the causes for their increasingly worrying mortality rates.”

And with global populations of wild Atlantic salmon declining from 8-10million in the 1970s to 3-4million fish today, the project will have an international impact.

“Too many times, humanity has acted too late when a species is in decline. We have an opportunity to act now and make a lasting, positive impact so we’d ask everyone with an interest in preserving not only Scotland’s wild identity, but one of the world’s most famous species’ futures, to support this ground-breaking project,” added Dr Newton.

The Missing Salmon Project will tag juvenile fish, known as smolts, as they begin their journey from their home river towards the sea. Fish are recorded as they pass through strategic points – which will help determine how many fish make it to the ocean and where mortality occurs. The tracking project will start in the Moray Firth where 20% of all salmon that leave the UK originate and the lessons learned will be transferable to other populations of salmon around the UK.

To find out more about the Missing Salmon Project, and to donate to the cause, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/themissingsalmonproject.

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Salmon Farming in Scotland – Inquiry by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Today (Wednesday 14th March) at 10am the Scottish Parliamentary Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee will hear evidence from environmental NGO’s for their Inquiry into Salmon Farming in Scotland.

Giving evidence are:

Jon Gibb, Clerk, Lochaber District Salmon Fishery Board;

Dr Alan Wells, Chief Executive, Fisheries Management Scotland;

Dr Richard Luxmoore, Senior Nature Conservation Adviser at the National Trust for Scotland, on behalf of Scottish Environment LINK;

Guy Linley-Adams, Solicitor, on behalf of Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland.


Below is the link to watch live:



The video recording of the evidence session will be archived on Scottish Parliament TV and available to watch at your convenience.


The Agenda and Papers for the Committee meeting is in the second link:



The Call for written evidence is available using the link below. Submissions must be made by 27 April 2018:



The Atlantic Salmon Trust’s position paper on salmon aquaculture can be viewed here: Aquaculture Position Paper Nov. 2016


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Environment Agency Statutory Advertisement – changes to salmon byelaws to protect wild salmon stocks

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

On the 7th March 2018 the Environment Agency has announced a Statutory Advertisement with proposals to change salmon byelaws in an effort to protect wild salmon stocks, which continue to be at very low levels. The advertisement will run from the 7th March 2018 until the 8th April 2018. Objections must be received no later than the 8th April 2018.

In 2014 wild salmon stocks in England were at their lowest level ever recorded, and these stocks have continued to perform poorly in 2015 and 2016.

The Environment Agency has proposed new measures and byelaws for managing salmon stocks in England and the Border Esk. Please use this link to view the advertisement and proposed measures: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/fisheries/proposed-national-salmon-byelaws/

The proposals include:

  • Stopping the take of salmon from the majority of England’s net fisheries by 2019, this will result in the closure of a number of fisheries.
  • All drift net fisheries will close from 2018.
  • It will also require increased levels of Catch and Release (100% mandatory Catch and Release for “At Risk” rivers) for salmon rod fisheries.

Kevin Austin, Environment Agency’s Deputy Director for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment said:

“The measures and byelaws we are proposing are based on both scientific research data and on the results we received from our initial consultation. It has not been an easy decision, as many people will be affected. However, we risk seeing the further decline of salmon across England if we do not act now.

“The majority of people who responded to our initial consultation agreed that more needed to be done to protect salmon. We are working hard to improve conditions for all phases of the salmon lifecycle to increase their abundance and diversity. We are also working with partners, water companies and other organisations to deliver these improvements.

“Our work has already seen salmon returning to rivers in England, such as the River Tyne in Northumbria, where they have been extinct for many years. Whilst we realise there is still much to do, we are proud of the work we have achieved with our partners and other organisations, and will continue to work hard to protect this iconic species.”

The EA’s proposed changes to the salmon byelaws have not been suggested lightly. A public consultation was undertaken in 2017, in which over 1,100 responses were received. The majority of the respondents to the consultation agreed that further action was needed.

The results of the initial consultation which ran from August to October 2017, helped inform the proposed byelaws, and can also be viewed online here: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/fisheries/managing-salmon-net-and-rod-fisheries/

The EA has acknowledged and welcomed the significant progress which has been made towards the voluntary adoption of Catch and Release by angling clubs across the country, and the important role they play ensuring salmon in our rivers are protected.

On rivers categorised as “Probably at Risk” anglers have the opportunity to demonstrate that they can reach better than 90% Catch and Release before the EA decides whether to introduce mandatory byelaws.

The Atlantic Salmon Trust, FishPal and Angling Trust produced a YouTube series with Andy Ford from Sky Sports Tight Lines, giving guidance on good Catch & Release practice. This series can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXsDg09-APY7hX9W5F8HA9FoiJjg2FiSe

The EA has recognised that reducing the catch of salmon is not the full solution to the continuing decline of salmon stocks and have committed to working with partners to reduce the impacts on salmon from; barriers such as weirs, water quality, low flows and agricultural pollution.

Kevin Austin, Environment Agency’s Deputy Director for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment said in January:

“The reasons for the decline of salmon are complex, and there is no single solution; reducing the catch of salmon can only partly contribute to the recovery of salmon stocks. We continue to work closely with water companies and other partners to improve water quality and low flows on salmon rivers. We are also investing and working together with partners and other organisations to improve fish passage on schemes up and down the country”.

The Atlantic Salmon Trust have worked with the Environment Agency, Government, Angling Trust, Wild Trout Trust, Salmon and Trout Conservation UK, Rivers Trust and Institute of Fisheries Management to set out an agreed programme of action to restore England’s salmon populations – the Salmon Five Point Approach.

The Salmon Five Point Approach sets out actions to address the key pressures that affect the different life stages of salmon. The priorities are:

  1. Improve marine survival.
  2. Further reduce exploitation by nets and rods.
  3. Remove barriers to migration and enhancing habitat.
  4. Safeguard sufficient flows.
  5. Maximise spawning success by improving water quality.

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Scottish Parliament Committee publishes series of concerns about the environmental impacts of salmon farming in Scotland.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee published their “Report” on the 5th March 2018 to help inform a wider inquiry into the current state of the industry, which is being carried out by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.

Some of the key findings include…

  • The planned expansion of salmon farming over the next 10 to 15 years, which aims to grow the industry by 300,000 – 400,000 tonnes, is unsustainable and may, without changes in approach, cause “irrecoverable damage”
  • The salmon farming industry raises the same environmental concerns as in 2002, but the scale and impact has expanded.
  • It is ‘deeply concerned’ that the growth of the sector is taking place without a full understanding of the environmental impacts.
  • The Committee is not convinced the sector is being regulated sufficiently and this requires urgent attention.
  • There are significant gaps in data, monitoring and research around the adverse risk the sector poses.

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee Convener, Graeme Dey MSP, said:

“The sector has ambitious expansion targets but the Committee is concerned as to how these can be achieved in an environmentally-sustainable way.

“The sector continues to grow and expand with little meaningful thought given to the impact this will have on the environment. In the Committee’s view, if the current environmental impact issues are not addressed, the expansion will be unsustainable and may cause irrecoverable damage.

“The Committee is supportive of aquaculture but expansion must be based on a precautionary approach and on resolving environmental problems. The status quo, in terms of approach and regulation, is not an option.

“In raising awareness of the serious environmental concerns, the Committee hopes to helpfully inform the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee’s upcoming wider scrutiny of the salmon industry in Scotland.”


Read the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee’s report on the environmental impacts of salmon farming:  “Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee report on the environmental impacts of salmon farming.” 

The future of Scotland’s farmed salmon industry will come under the scrutiny of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee and it encourages individuals and organisations to share their views as part of its inquiry.

The deadline for submitting evidence to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee is 27th April. The Committee will produce a report detailing its findings once it has concluded its anticipated evidence taking in March, April and May.

Find out more about the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee’s inquiry.

Find out more about the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee.

Source: Scottish Parliament News

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SAMARCH project

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

January 16th saw the launch of the SAMARCH project a multi-million pound EU funded work that will provide crucial evidence to strengthen the protection of salmon and sea-trout. Dr Matt Newton our Tracking coordinator attended the launch event in Southampton which saw researchers from France and the UK outline work packages, project aims and key deliverables for the work which is to be conducted over the next 5 years.

The AST see great value in the project the outcomes of which will significantly advance or knowledge in the management of salmon and sea trout stocks. The AST has contributed £20,000 of funding to the SAMARCH project (£10,000 per year for two years).

The work from SAMARCH is unique in that it will use index rivers on the south coast of England and the North coast of France. Index rivers are highly valuable as they have highly robust long term datasets of trends in smolt output and salmon return rates. The ability to build on this will greatly increase our knowledge of salmon and seatrout whilst provide new management practices for the species and help in their conservation.

The project is made up of four Work Packages (WP):

WP 1: uses acoustic tracking technology to follow sea trout and salmon smolts through the estuaries of the rivers Frome, Tamar, Scorff and Bresle in the spring of 2018 and 2019. This will enable mortality to be apportioned between the estuary and the sea.

WP 2: collects samples of juvenile brown trout from rivers in northern France and the south of England and adult sea trout across in the Channel to build a common genetic data base of trout and sea trout to facilitate the identity of the river of origin of sea trout caught at sea.

WP 3: involves collecting data on the marine survival of salmonids and modelling this and historic data from the five Index rivers to develop a predictive model for the abundance of returning salmonids.

WP 4: will be used to ensure the results produced by the project inform, improve and develop new policies for the management of salmonids in estuaries and coastal waters.

To find out more about the fish tracking in the SAMARCH project visit: samarch.org/project-information/fish-tracking/


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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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