FISHING: Loch Lomond anglers on alert for invasive Pacific pink salmon

Pink salmon
A pink salmon was caught in Scottish waters at the end of June. Top picture taken by Stewart Cunningham at the Pots of Gartness on the River Endrick.

By Harry Bell

Anglers have been asked to report catches and sightings of an invasive species of salmon in Loch Lomond and its tributary rivers.

Pink salmon are native to Pacific Ocean waters but have spread to parts of northern Europe after being released into rivers in Russia in the 1960s.

“Unprecedented numbers” of the fish were found in Scottish rivers in 2017, and high numbers were again seen in 2019.

The salmon have already been caught this year in the Ness in the Highlands, but there have been n o reports so far of these fish in Loch Lomond or the rivers Fruin, Endrick or Leven.

Fisheries Management Scotland (FMS) has asked anglers to report where else the fish have been found.

The organisation is the representative body for Scotland’s district salmon fishery boards, rivers and fisheries trusts and the River Tweed Commission.

There are concerns pink salmon could out-compete native fish species for food and habitat.

FMS said the number of native wild Atlantic salmon returning to their spawning grounds in the UK had “fallen dramatically” since the 1970s, and the invasive species was seen as an “additional threat” to its survival.

There are strict rules about the number of salmon members of the Loch Lomond Anglin Association are allowed to take home with them.

Pink salmon have a fixed, two-year life cycle and generally spawn in summer.

FMS said due to this life cycle it was possible they would appear again in Scottish rivers this year following the previous sightings in 2017 and 2019.

It said it was working closely with the Scottish government and public agencies to try and better understand the impact these fish would have in local waters.

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