Statistics released in October by Marine Scotland show a 'growing commitment' by anglers to the catch and return scheme.

Of the 85,859 reported salmon and grilse caught by rod, anglers released 62 per cent back to the water. A record 78 per cent of total spring salmon were returned, the highest return rate on record.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

"These record catch and return numbers demonstrate Scotland's anglers are proving themselves conscientious and reliable in sustaining fresh water stocks.

"The Scottish Government recognises the value angling has to the rural economy. It is essential that this is sustained. I hope that anglers and manager of fisheries will continue to demonstrate their commitment to protecting salmon stocks.

"On the back of that report, we have set up a sea angling strategy forum, involving a number of Scottish anglers. That forum will set out a road-map for how we can help nurture the sea angling industry in Scotland."

"The increased commitment to catch and release schemes shows restraint by anglers and this is encouraging particularly for the spring run."

Catch and release is the process where by a fish is caught by an angler and returned immediately, unharmed to the water.