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

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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Migration pathways, speed and mortality of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) smolts in a Scottish river and the near-shore coastal marine environment.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Angus J. Lothian, Matthew Newton, James Barry, Marcus Walters, Richard C. Miller, Colin E. Adams

First published: 28 June 2017


Long-distance migration of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is known to result in high levels of mortality. For a species experiencing global population decline, it is thus vital to better understand migration behaviour, both in the river and marine stages. Atlantic salmon smolts (n = 50) were tracked using acoustic telemetry in the River Deveron, Scotland, and adjacent coastal area. Higher rates of mortality were observed in the river (0.77% per km) than the early marine stage of migration (0.0% per km). Mortality likely resulted from predation. Higher swim speeds were recorded in the early marine stage compared with the river (marine = 7.37 ± 28.20 km/day; river = 5.03 ± 1.73 km/day [mean ± SD]), a potential predator avoidance behaviour. The majority of smolts leaving the river did so in darkness and on a flooding tide. Overall river and marine migration success were linked to nights of lower lunar brightness. Marine migration speed decreased with increasing environmental noise levels, a finding with implications for fisheries management. The migration pathway in the early marine environment did not follow obvious geographical features, such as the coastline. Thus, we suggest that early marine environment pathways are more influenced by complex water currents. These findings highlight factors that influence smolt migration survival and behaviour, areas on which future research should focus.

Lothian AJ, Newton M, Barry J, Walters M, Miller RC, Adams CE. Migration pathways, speed and mortality of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) smolts in a Scottish river and the near-shore coastal marine environment. Ecol Freshw Fish. 2017;00:1–10. https://doi.org/10.1111/eff.12369


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Exclusive Offer: Summer Fishing in the Hebrides – week at Soval Estate Isle of Lewis

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Soval Estate

Due to a last minute cancellation the owners of Soval Estate on the Isle of Lewis are offering a week salmon fishing, including accommodation and food, to Friends and Supporters of the Atlantic Salmon Trust. Money raised will be donated to the AST.
*Please note this will not be run as an auction, but on a first come basis.

Dates: 22 – 29 July 2017
Party: 5 rods
Price: £4,000 (offering a 20% discount on the normal price for the week of £5,000)

The offer for 5 rods/people includes food and accommodation. Extra rods or people brought on a board and lodgings only basis will be by separate arrangement directly with the Lodge.

Exclusive use of the very comfortable Soval Lodge. The Lodge, which overlooks the sea Loch Erisort, is at the heart of its own 500 acre farm. With views to the Harris hills beyond, the Lodge can sleep 15 people in 7 king size or twin bedrooms (one which sleeps 3). The lodge staff, led by Mairi, will look after you during your staff and offer a delightful selection of food, including local lobster once a week.

The week includes exclusive fly only salmon fishing on the River Laxay system along with fishing on Loch Langavat at the top end of the famous Grimersta system. Three supportive ghillies are included to look after the rods.

In addition to the salmon fishing there is plenty to keep younger members or beginners in the party happy. There’s great trolling on local lochs and wonderfully fun sea fishing and wildlife spotting in the estate’s speedboat.

Average annual bags over the last five years are 89 salmon, 101 sea trout and 1165 brown trout. Salmon begin running in late June/early July so 22 – 29 July is an excellent week by all accounts. In 2016 the last 2 weeks of July accounted for 16 salmon, 13 sea trout and 73 brown trout.

To make an enquiry and secure your 20% discount for the 22 – 29 July 2017 please use the contact details below and quote “AST Soval Offer 2017”.

Contact: Richard & Marie Kershaw
Mob: 07870 675342

Email: mariedkershaw@hotmail.com
Website: http://www.sovalestate.co.uk

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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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