Valuing the wild salmon fisheries of Scotland: The social and political dimensions of management
The wild Atlantic salmon which spawns in Scottish waters is valued by a multitude of stakeholders. Present wild Atlantic salmon stocks are decreasing, resulting in conflicting perspectives on rights to exploitation and access by angling and net fisheries, forcing government, management and conservation agencies to react and mitigate. Interviews were conducted with key representatives actively involved in the management, conservation and utilisation of the wild salmon of Scotland to investigate the social and political dimensions of the fisheries. All stakeholders noted that a key concern impacting on the wild Atlantic salmon survival was at sea mortality and the risk from the propagation of the aquaculture industry on the west and north coasts. The encouragement given by the Scottish Government for the continual development of fish farms has led to stakeholders feeling dissatisfied with the value given to the Scottish wild salmon fishery. Stakeholders felt distrusting of the Government's commitment for creating legislative measures which will adequately protect wild salmon populations. Furthermore, different resource users have differing values attached to salmon and therefore competing perspectives on fair access and entitlement for the activity. Government must be respectful of actors differing perspectives to gain the trust of stakeholders in order to guide management and conservation practices efficaciously for the sustainability of the wild salmon fisheries in Scotland.