Fund to support sustainable wild salmon and sea trout industry to close to new applicants 

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A fund designed to support a sustainable future for wild salmon and sea trout in Scottish rivers will close to new applicants next week.

The Wild Salmonid Support Fund, which is financed directly by Scotland’s farm-raised salmon companies, is making £1.5million available over five years to tackle the decades-long decline of wild salmon and sea trout.

The latest round of funding opened in early February, with £120,000 available to organisations that work to enhance and protect wild fisheries and conserve habitats.

It follows the success of the Fund’s launch in April last year, when more than £70,000 was awarded to five river and fisheries trusts.

Organisations have been encouraged to request grants in the range of £10,000 and £35,000.
The deadline for applications is on Monday, March 21, and successful bids will be confirmed in the week commencing May 23.

Individual projects should be completed with 18 months of the project being awarded funds.

The Wild Salmonid Support Fund was established by Scotland’s farm-raised salmon sector, Salmon Scotland, in partnership with Fisheries Management Scotland.

Grants are administered by the independent charity Foundation Scotland.

Some of the projects awarded funding last year are underway, with progress being made around restoration, scientific research and education.

In 2021 Carloway Estate Trust was given £9,000 to help develop the river and loch system to encourage a healthy, strong and increased salmon population.
Beneficiary organisations also included Argyll Fisheries Trust, which was awarded £18,600 to invest in habitat restoration in the Dalvuie Burn near Oban.

The Lochaber Fisheries Trust received almost £20,000 to implement juvenile surveys to assess fish densities and genetic diversity in eight local rivers.

A further £14,500 was awarded to Wester Ross Fisheries Trust, and £10,000 was given to Flow Country Rivers Trust.

The projects support a vast array of activities including scientific research and manual habitat restoration work in the shared connecting waters where the farm-raised salmon sector operates.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “Salmon Scotland and our member companies are pleased to be able to work with the wild salmon sector to offer these awards. We would encourage any organisation that wishes to apply in this latest round of the Wild Salmonid Support Fund to do so before the deadline on Monday.”

“Along with Fisheries Management Scotland, we recognise and share the concerns over the overall declining status of wild salmonids in Scottish rivers over recent decades. Scotland has a rich history of salmon resources and this heritage is reliant on ensuring a long-term future for wild stocks. We are committed to the marine environment, and it is in our joint interests to ensure that the waters we share where salmon farms operate are as good an environment for wild fish as they can be.”

“Investing in good science and nature restoration projects on Scotland’s rivers is extremely important and will benefit Scotland’s iconic wild salmon and sea trout. We look forward to seeing the results of projects that are already underway, and to welcoming new applications,” Scott added.

Mercedes Green, fund advisor at Foundation Scotland, said: “This fund only opens once per year, and with grants up to £35,000 available, it can provide a real boost for new and existing projects aimed at tackling the decline of wild salmon and sea trout in Scottish rivers. With the funding deadline fast approaching, we’re urging people to submit their applications as soon as possible.”

“If anyone has any questions about eligibility, they can view full fund details on our website or get in touch with Foundation Scotland, and we’ll be happy to help,” Green said.