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Conservation & Management

Fish populations and fisheries across the world have been subject to a wide range of pressures caused directly or indirectly by human activities. The majority of the world's commercial fish stocks are 'over-fished'. This means that they are less productive than they could be. Furthermore, if the genetic integrity of the population is eroded through over-exploitation, then the potential for recovery and future abundance is lost.

In other parts of the world, human activities have damaged fish habitats, through pollution, obstruction of migration routes, or ecological disruption. In freshwaters, the introduction of non-native species can be catastrophic for some species (e.g. Nile perch into Lake Victoria). The freshwaters of the Wester Ross Fisheries Trust area remain relatively healthy though many problems have been recognised.

Gyrodactylus salaris [Gs]

Gyrodactylus salaris [Gs]

Gyrodactylus salaris [Gs]

Gyrodactylus salaris [Gs] is a highly contagious parasite that has devastated freshwater salmon populations in parts of Norway. Gs has never been recorded in Scotland. It is native to rivers flowing into the Baltic where fish populations are tolerant of it. Salmon populations in Scotland have no resistance to it and the Scottish Government has recently published a contingency plan to deal with an outbreak should the parasite ever be introduced to Scotland.. The Gs parasite can survive on damp clothing or fishing gear so could enter Scottish river by accident. Please take precautionary measures to prevent contamination if you have been overseas: dry, disinfect or deep freeze all clothing and equipment used outside the country before using it here. Visit the Gs parasite - what you need to know for further information.

Related Downloads

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  • Wester Ross Fisheries Management Plan 2023 - 2028
    This interactive plan provides information about pressures affecting wild salmon and sea trout populations in the Wester Ross area, and proposes a series of actions required to protect, support and strengthen wild fish populations in the Wester Ross area. Comments are welcome, please contact the WRFT Biologist at .  Posted: 05/04/2024 (372KB)
  • Juvenile salmon production and nutrition in Wester Ross 2023
    This report summarises the results of the juvenile salmon survey in Wester Ross in summer and early autumn, 2023. The report focusses on contrasting the size and biomass of juvenile salmon at different sites. There was much variation in growth; some sites had high densities of larger parr; at other sites parr were small and thin. Important missing food items for parr at some sites may include caddis fly larvae, terrestrial insects, and surplus washed-out salmon eggs which in some rivers may have been of crucial importance for pre-smolt salmon parr. Is it time to provide supplementary food for juvenile salmon in some rivers? .  Posted: 05/02/2024 (1.65MB)
  • Wester Ross Bivalves
    Presentation by Roger Mclachlan from the seashells workshop at Gairloch Museum on 2nd December 2023. This presentation provides an introduction to the identification of bivalve seashells most often found on local shores (a few others too). The last page of the presentation has links to sources of information to help with identification and recording. Please go to iSpot 'Bivalves of Wester Ross' project page to report any interesting finds. Good luck!.  Posted: 04/12/2023 (5.37MB)
  • WRFT Newsletter October 2023
    This newsletter provides a summary of work during the period March to September 2023 including sea trout sampling, juvenile salmon surveys and production, workshops and some other activities. .  Posted: 07/10/2023 (2.24MB)
  • Mycorrhiza discussion group notes 26 April 2023
    Notes from mycorrhiza discussion group at Catchment Vegetation Workshop at Kinlochewe on on 26th April 2023 .  Posted: 02/05/2023 (332KB)
  • Angus's Boat song 16 April 2023 words and story
    The song Angus's boat tells the story of the fisheries around Gairloch, Wester Ross. Angus was a fisherman who lived at Big Sand, by Loch Gairloch and whose wooden row boat was pulled up on the shore by the Sound of Longa. WRFT Biologist, Peter Cunningham often met Angus on the shore when he lived nearby; Angus also told his stories to Sue Pomeroy as part of the herring fishers project. Gairloch Museum also has recorded conversations with Angus. .  Posted: 17/04/2023 (171KB)
  • Little Loch Broom BRUV Surveys 2022
    Presentation by Dr Neil Hopkins and Dr Charlotte Hopkins describing animal movements in relation to seascapes and underwater habitats from baited underwater remote video survey of Gruinard Bay and Little Loch Broom in 2022, shown at Wester Ross MPA Discovery Day on 14th October 2022. Screenshots have been taken from video clips presented to illustrate animal diversity recorded. .  Posted: 08/11/2022 (1.47MB)
  • Wester Ross Marine Protected Area an introduction
    Presentation by Nature Scot describing the history of the Wester Ross MPA, designation, protected features, management and monitoring, with links to further information. This presentation was delivered at the Wester Ross MPA Discovery Day on 14th October by Sue Pomeroy of Little Loch Broom Marine Life group. .  Posted: 08/11/2022 (709KB)
  • Maerl by Prof Jason Hall-Spencer
    Maerl supports the whole web of life with 100s of species using it for spawning, nursery areas, hiding and feeding. This presentation by Prof Jason Hall-Spencer at Wester Ross MPA Discovery Day on 14th October explains why it is so important to protect maerl habitats. .  Posted: 27/10/2022 (1.92MB)
  • Finding Salmon and Sea trout around the Wester Ross MPA
    This presentation by Peter Cunningham introduces the main wild salmon rivers that flow into the Wester Ross MPA and describes some of the issues, including infestation by sea lice from poorly regulated open cage salmon farms, which threaten wild salmon populations and sea trout within the Wester Ross area. Can the wild salmon populations around the Wester Ross MPA be given additional protection?.  Posted: 27/10/2022 (11.01MB)
  • Maerl biodiversity and carbon poster
    Maerl, often referred to as coral by former herring fishermen, is the most important priority marine feature for which the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area was desgnated. Maerl seabed habitats provide homes for many animals including spawning herring, juvenile cod and scallops. Maerl beds around Wester Ross are some of the most important in Europe but remain inadequately surveyed. They are damaged by scallop dredging and organic nutrient rich waste discharges from open cage salmon farms.  Posted: 30/05/2022 (901KB)
  • Status of Juvenile Wild Salmon in Wester Ross Northwest Scotland 2022
    This report provides a summary of the results of the 2021 juvenile fish survey in the Wester Ross area, and discusses findings and associated issues relating to the conservation and management of important wild salmon populations in the northwest of Scotland .  Posted: 01/02/2022 (5.70MB)
  • Welcome back to new WRFT_7MB
    This presentation (smartphone resolution) prepared for the relaunch of the 'new' Trust in April 2021 reviews wild salmon and sea trout in Wester Ross, some pressures they face, past work and support, and future objectives for WRFT. .  Posted: 13/04/2021 (6.73MB)
  • Welcome back to new WRFT_18MB
    This presentation (for computer) prepared for the relaunch of the 'new' Trust in April 2021 reviews the wild salmon and sea trout of Wester Ross, pressures they face, some past work and support, and future objectives for WRFT.  Posted: 13/04/2021 (17.66MB)
  • Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust Review September 2020
    This review presents a summary of the work of the Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust during the 15 months up to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 and other related information including catch reports, results of fish surveys, an assessment of wild salmon populations and some of the pressures they face, and reports from project activities. .  Posted: 23/09/2020 (8.05MB)
  • Nutrient Additions workshop presentation 6th February 2020
    Presentation given by Peter Cunningham at the nutrient additions workshop at the Marine Scotland Freshwater laboratory on 6th February 2020. The presentation makes a case for phosphorus budgeting for Wester Ross to restore wild salmon populations and address problems associated with loss of phosphorus transfer and ecosystem malnourishment. .  Posted: 28/02/2020 (9.55MB)
  • Skye Fisheries Management Plan 2010
    The Skye Fisheries Management Plan was produced with support from the Scottish Government and a variety of other grant providers. The plan presents summaries of 14 rivers on Skye, assesses regional and local pressures affecting salmon and sea trout populations, and presents actions needed to support and restore wild fish populations and fisheries. .  Posted: 20/01/2020 (1.84MB)
  • Wester Ross Wild Trout Workshop 30th April 2019
    This workshop at Kinlochewe Village Hall will focus on the diversity of wild trout in the Wester Ross and Isle of Skye areas and on conservation and fisheries restoration. .  Posted: 15/03/2019 (429KB)
  • Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust Review February 2018
    This review summarises the work of the Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust during the period June 2016 to December 2018.  Posted: 06/02/2018 (7.46MB)
  • Loch Maree Panorama by Ben Rushbrooke
    When Ben was out surveying non-native invasive plants around the shores of Loch Maree in September 2015, he took a series of photographs from this less familiar viewpoint from which this composite has been put together. You can just about see from one end of the loch to the other, including several famous fishing beats. Thanks Ben!.  Posted: 17/12/2015 (540KB)
  • Wester Ross Marine Wildlife Poster
    This poster shows some of the marine wildlife habitats and marine wildlife to be found around Wester Ross including habitats of nature conservation importance within the possible Wester Ross Marine Protected Area. Copies are available from WRFT.  Posted: 18/07/2014 (1.22MB)
  • WRFT Review of Activities 2009 to 2012
    This review summaries the work of Wester Ross Fisheries Trust during the period 2009 to 2012 in support of the WRFT Fisheries Management Plan 2009+, and sets priorites for future activities.  Posted: 11/12/2012 (2.62MB)
  • Mekong dams threaten freshwater fish with extinction
    Why the WRFT biologist is particularly concerned about the future of spectacular endemic Mekong fishes in 10 pictures. With link to recently published WWF report.  Posted: 29/07/2010 (2.04MB)
  • Aaptosyax grypus, Pakse Market February 1997
    This may be one of the last photos of Aaptosyax grypus, Rainboth (1991), photographed in Pakse Market in February 1997 by VSO Volunteer, Peter Cunningham. The salmon like cyprinid is (was) an endemic to the middle Mekong River. I also collected a juvenile from a gill net fisherman at ban Hang Khone. Sadly, I have come across no authenticated reports of this unique fish surviving into the 21st Century. Does it still exist?.  Posted: 31/03/2010 (196KB)
  • WRFT FMP 2009+ Summary
    WRFT Fisheries Management Plan 2009+ Summary and Contents page.  Posted: 25/02/2009 (4.06MB)