Last year’s catch figures were affected by Covid lockdowns during spring 2021, but the data is consistent with recent trends. In 2018, the last full year before the pandemic, the wild salmon catch set the previous record low of just over 37,600. In 2010, anglers caught over 111,400 salmon.
The data has alarmed fisheries experts and ecologists. Wild salmon and trout are a keystone species for many mammals and birds, and a plunging fish population harms other creatures such as otter, osprey and mergansers, damaging the wider ecosystem.
Salmon are highly sensitive to water temperature and reduced water purity. Their decline is seen as unequivocal evidence that the climate crisis, pollution, fish farming and industrial activities are causing wider environmental harm.