Spey Fishery Board Joins the Our Seas Coalition

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The Spey Fishery Board (SFB) is delighted to announce our membership of the Our Seas coalition. Our Seas is a campaign dedicated to changing legislation to enhance the environmental protections of Scotland’s coastal waters by restoring seabed habitats, promoting sustainable fishing practices, and protecting marine biodiversity.

This initiative aligns with SFB’s mission to safeguard Atlantic salmon populations. Atlantic salmon smolts, which spend critical developmental periods in coastal waters, depend on healthy marine environments for feeding, acclimatisation, and growth.

Unfortunately, the degradation of seabed habitats due to activities such as bottom-trawling and scallop dredging has severely impacted these ecosystems, leading to declines in fish stocks and the broader marine environment. Dredging and bottom-trawling are currently permitted in over 95% of Scotland’s inshore waters, causing extensive damage to crucial habitats. This issue was exacerbated in 1984 when the UK Government repealed the coastal limit on bottom-trawling, allowing for more intensive exploitation of rich fishing grounds.

A seagrass meadow in Scotland. Credit: Nature Scot

The decline in key habitats, such as seagrass meadows that serve as breeding and nursery grounds for marine life, including juvenile salmon, underscores the urgency of the Our Seas campaign’s objectives. The campaign advocates for the reintroduction of an inshore limit on damaging fishing practices and the implementation of effective vessel tracking systems to ensure compliance.

Roger Knight, Director of the Spey Fishery Board, emphasises, “To truly protect Atlantic salmon, we need to look beyond our rivers and address the health of our coastal waters. This campaign is crucial for creating a sustainable environment where salmon can thrive.”

We encourage everyone to support this vital cause by signing the Our Seas petition, which calls on the Scottish Government to bring back Scotland’s inshore limit. Sign the petition here.

For more information about the Our Seas campaign and its efforts to protect our coastal waters, please visit Our Seas.

Feature Image: The mouth of the Spey and the Moray Firth. Credit: Charlie Philips

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