Scottish salmon fishings
We hold the legal rights to salmon fishings on many rivers in Scotland, working to conserve the environment and enable recreation activities to take place.
These salmon fishings form part of the regalia minora and are a property right for which the title can be transferred separately from land. This means the right is not necessarily bound to the land where the fishings are located, and so even when the shore or riverbank is privately owned, fishings may still be vested in the Crown. The right includes both salmon and sea trout, known collectively as migratory fish.
The exception to this are those salmon fishings purchased with the Fochabers, Glenlivet and Applegirth estates.
There are close to 140 river salmon fishing tenancies, including more than a third with angling clubs or associations. These cover a wide range of rivers, many located in the centre of Scotland including the Allan Water near Dunblane and the River Leader near Earlston, both let to a local angling association. There are also tenancies on rivers in the north east and south west such as the Findhorn, the Stinchar, in addition to improving fisheries, like those on the Lothian, Almond and the Forth.
In terms of the length of river, the rights to fish leased to associations actually represents more than 70 per cent of the let area, providing affordable public access to salmon angling for local communities.
The majority of the salmon fishing interests on the River Clyde and its tributaries (excluding the River Leven and Loch Lomond) form part of The Crown Estate. The salmon population of the Clyde has improved dramatically over recent years. This is attributed to several factors – improvement in water quality; The Crown Estate policy of encouraging local angling clubs whose dedication to improving their own rivers has been key; and improved management through some financial support. The end result of this is that the Clyde now enjoys a substantial run of salmon and grilse and is becoming a significant sporting salmon fishery after many years of decline.
Conservation is a vital element of this business activity and we employ a number of measures in order to protect the salmon stock. To guard against overfishing, each tenancy has a strict limit on the number of rods that may fish at any one time. Tenants are also required to comply with all conservation measures put forward by the district salmon fishery board in addition to statutory regulations.
For example, to protect valuable spawning stock from exploitation, long-term leases of headwater fisheries in the Tweed system were granted in favour of The River Tweed Commission.
Since the late 1980s we have also supported a policy of conservation by retaining coastal netting stations in hand and un-let. Around 44 of these remain spread from the Borders to Caithness and annual fishery board assessment payments are still made on many of these coastal fishings through which further contributions are made by The Crown Estate to the conservation of wild salmon stocks.