Return your salmon to claim a reward, says Trust

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THE Salmon fishing seasons are now open on both the Cree and Bladnoch – the two Galloway rivers that still support an early running component to their salmon stock.

And as always, anglers are being urged to return all salmon caught up until the first of June and this practice has been made mandatory on the River Cree this season.

Galloway Fisheries Trust will be supporting anglers’ efforts by rewarding them with a side of smoked salmon as a joint collaboration with Pinneys of Scotland (Part of the Seafood Company) who have been sponsoring the rewards scheme for the last eight years.

Increased effort has been made in recent years towards protecting valuable spring salmon stocks.

Fisheries biologist Rowan Armstrong said: “Spring salmon are all multi-sea winter fish (i.e. they have spent more than one year at sea) and are often large in size which makes them highly prized by anglers. Entering our river systems at the very start of the year, they utilise the headwaters which are often areas impacted by acidification and habitat damage.

“Spring salmon are thought to be a sub-group of salmon; unique to the few rivers they still exist in throughout Scotland. Regionally, spring runs of fish remain on the Cree and Bladnoch and we must encourage anglers to preserve these unique lineages.

Protecting the spring run of salmon is increasingly important as most spring fish entering rivers are hen fish which typically produce around 700 eggs per lb and this equates to 7000 eggs for your average 10lb hen fish.

“Under the District Salmon Fishery Board river rules of the Cree - the return of all salmon up until the first of June will be strongly enforced this year and GFT have welcomed this strengthening of river rules as one action of many within their long term objectives for increasing the rivers salmon population.”

Anglers wishing to claim a side of smoked salmon for safely returning their salmon alive to the river Cree or Bladnoch must provide a scale sample from the salmon, with details of date, place of catch and weight or length of the salmon, as well as a photo of the salmon being returned to the river. Please pass these details along with angler name and a contact number to Rowan Armstrong at the GFT office in Newton Stewart (telephone 01671 40 3011) throughout the spring season.