The Atlantic Salmon Trust aims to be the definitive resource for information about salmon and sea trout, their remarkable lives and the threats that today are jeopardizing their very survival. We have a comprehensive collection of fish facts, a learning zone for schoolchildren and our huge archive of news and research.
One of the most amazing - and moving – sights in nature is that of the mature Atlantic salmon leaping up waterfalls, weirs and fish passes on its way home to spawn. It's a sight that can be guaranteed to fascinate onlookers, whether they fish or not. Indeed, for the non-angler, it may well be the first and only time they see salmon, and come to appreciate what a truly marvellous, brave and indomitable animal this is, and how it earned its Roman name: Salmo salar, salmon the leaper.
Following the ground breaking SALSEA project, the AST has refreshed its strategy to encompass the whole lives of Atlantic salmon and sea trout in all their habitats, at sea and in fresh water.
Atlantic salmon are anadromous, migratory fish which means they spend part of their life in the ocean but they breed and lay their eggs in freshwater. At each stage of the life cycle of the salmon distinct changes take place. In fact it was not until the first part of the 19th century that it was proven that the adult Atlantic salmon was the same species as the striped parr found in the rivers. Watch our interactive movie which tells the story of this journey.
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.
In the first thirty years of the AST's existence the challenges of trying to reduce mixed stocks exploitation by coastal and drift nets and the growing impacts on the well being of salmon and sea trout dominated our work. The Trust was influential in establishing the international treaty organisation NASCO to deal with the issue of high seas exploitation of salmon. The Trust was also a founding member of the Tripartite Working Group which attempted to reconcile the conflicting interests of commercial salmon farming and wild fisheries management. Some progress has been made with both these issues, but problems remain and we continue to work on them.
The 'sea change' for AST came with the highly innovative SALSEA project inspired by AST's research director Dr Richard Shelton who led the pioneering stage of what turned out to be the largest international project focussing on the wild Atlantic salmon ever mounted. The data from that project continue to influence scientific reach in all the salmon countries of the North Atlantic region.
In the wake of the SALSEA project, and with fisheries and rivers trusts well established throughout the UK, AST is once again free to adopt a thought leadership role in conservation of the Atlantic salmon and sea trout. That refreshed role is taking the Trust into the deepest parts of the Atlantic Ocean, following the migrations of salmon to their arctic feeding grounds and back to their givers of birth.
The conservation message AST takes to scientific groups, fisheries and river managers, anglers and the public is that we must return these iconic species to the abundance of yesteryear. The Trust promotes the well being of wild fish, naturally grown from eggs laid by wild fish that belong genetically to each river. Fish returning to those rivers from a natural stock to regenerate and sustain that stock is the key message. The role of man as the 'wise hunter' is to ensure that the structure, health and abundance of each stock is such that its future is assured. Good husbandry, supported by knowledge from scientific data and management experience is the key, and that is what AST stands for.
17 Jun 2015
The Spey is a Special Area of Conservation for a number of different species including salmon and freshwater pearl mussels. The decline in the Spey salmon catch has been well documented but the pearl mussel population has also declined with a 50% reduction in population size recorded in the last decade.
12 Jun 2015
Scottish National Heritage (SNH) have submitted the final 'Beavers in Scotland' report to Scottish Ministers
8 Jun 2015
Government Urged to Protect Funding for Salmon Management as Stocks Slump Again.
4 Jun 2015
There is no doubt that salmon stocks in England are under pressure. The number of salmon returning to English rivers in 2013 was among the lowest on record, and 2014 looks as if it could have been worse. The AST's Ivor Llewelyn explains, in the Lune River Trust's annual Habitat Herald, the impact falling survival rates at sea have on salmon numbers.
1 Jun 2015
Salmon fishermen who work in the City of London provide valuable income for rural communities in the North of Scotland. Last Wednesday AST Executive Director Tony Andrews talked to an audience of about 50 salmon and sea trout fishermen at The Lamb in Leadenhall Market about problems at sea faced by migrations of wild Atlantic salmon.
22 Apr 2015
Wild Atlantic Salmon encounter many problems during their migrations
31 Mar 2015
Biodiversity is the key to salmon survival
11 Feb 2015
Scottish Government fast tracks conservation of wild Atlantic salmon in time for the 2016 season.