Are hatcheries negatively affecting salmon numbers?

A new report says hatcheries are negatively affecting salmon numbers Credit: ITV News Border

It was designed to increase salmon numbers in our rivers, but now a report's been published claiming that hatcheries could actually have a detrimental affect on fish stocks.

The article, compiled by the director of the river Annan fisheries board, says the practice of artificially stocking salmon rivers is ineffective.

Salmon fishing is big business in Dumfries and Galloway. Anglers come from miles around to fish the rivers in the south of Scotland.

Now a report has been released suggesting that the common practice of salmon hatcheries, which artificially breed fish before putting them out into the wild, on rivers to improve fish stocks actually has a detrimental impact on numbers.

Nick Chisholm heads the river Annan fisheries board, he took part of the study and is determined that there are more sustainable ways to improve stocks.

Recently a fish pass has been built on the river Annan to help salmon reach higher up stream, it has opened up a 25 mile stretch of river previously unused by fish. It is things like the pass that Nick wants to encourage people to build, rather than hatcheries.

A fish pass has recently been built on the river Annan Credit: ITV News Border

Thanks to the fish pass that's been built on the river Annan, it is now a natural hatchery, and although the report isn't saying that all hatcheries are bad on all rivers, they are asking for people to explore new ways of improving salmon numbers in Scotland.

Anglers will always want more fish to catch, but with hatcheries providing a detrimental impact on numbers, other ways of boost stocks need to be used.

Supplementing fish numbers by using hatcheries has been going on since the 19th century in the belief that it helps improve stocks.

The rivers and fisheries trust for Scotland who complied this report are now seeking to change that opinion, and boost salmon numbers through sustainable means.