The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) has welcomed today’s publication by Scottish Government of the official 2010 catch statistics for salmon, confirming that the rod catch for 2010 was the highest since consistent records began in 1952.

Alan Williams, Chairman of ASFB, commented: “Last year’s rod catches of salmon and grilse in Scotland represented a major boost for the country’s angling industry and the associated benefits for rural areas. We are also particularly encouraged by the high and increasing percentage of fish released by anglers. This has been largely achieved on a voluntary basis and is testimony to the conservation-minded approach of the majority of anglers”.

Mr Williams added: “We need to be cautious about what catches are telling us about fish stocks. It is important, when drawing comparisons with the past, that we compare like with like. For example in the 1960s, before salmon got anywhere near the Scottish rod fishery, half a million fish or more could be caught annually in Scottish coastal and estuary nets. There was also a catch of over 3000 tonnes at Greenland and the Faroes. The clear message here is that despite strong grilse and summer salmon runs in many parts of Scotland in 2010, salmon are still nowhere near as abundant as they were 50 years ago”.

Mr Williams continued: “We should also recognise that 2010 was another poor year for spring salmon. In addition the southern part of the West Highlands saw no improvement in catches”.