Salmon rod fishing catches at record high in Scotland

Man fishes for Salmon in the River Tay
Image caption New national figures show record-breaking salmon catches

A record 100,000 wild salmon are thought to have been caught by fishing rod across Scotland in 2010.

On average about 76,000 salmon were caught each year from 2000 to 2009.

If the 2010 catch is confirmed it would be the biggest since records began in 1952. The previous record was set in 1988 when 96,488 salmon were caught.

It is thought that the bigger catch of salmon is due to more of the fish surviving at sea before they return to Scottish rivers.

Typically salmon lay eggs in fresh water rivers, migrate to the sea then return to rivers to reproduce.

The decline in salmon numbers on Scotland's rivers has been a concern for many years, leading to strict conservation measures.

The unusually high levels come after a poor year for spring salmon, which play a key role in the salmon stocks for the rest of the year.

The new figures came from research being carried out by the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) and the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS).

A spokesman said: "We need to be cautious about what catches are telling us about fish stocks.

"Salmon are still nowhere near as abundant as they were 50 years ago."

According to research published by the Scottish government in 2010, there was a 67% release rate for fish caught by rod in Scotland.

That figure stands at 82% for spring salmon.

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