New Government Policy on Stocking Rivers and Lochs Announced

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The policy is being phased in over the period from January 2016 to January 2020. Full details are available on the Government’s web page at

Key points to note are:

5 a) Introductions of salmon, sea trout and brown trout:

Introduction of salmon, sea trout and fertile brown trout into open Scottish inland waters may only be of local origin fish from the same river and in the case of large rivers, from the same sub-catchment, or forms part of a properly researched re-introduction programme.
Female non-fertile brown trout (triploid) may also be stocked into open Scottish inland waters where the species is already native or naturalised.

The policy where it applies to brown/sea trout will be phased in over the period 1st January 2016 to 1st January 2020.

5 b) Introductions above impassable natural barriers:

Areas above and below will be treated as separate catchments (i.e. 5 a).
Atlantic salmon may be introduced above natural impassable barriers/falls provided the brood-fish, or their progeny, are sourced from as close to the barrier/falls as possible (such introductions are subject to SNH licencing*)
*Stocking of salmon and sea trout above impassable natural barriers will be considered as an introduction of fish out-with their native range. Therefore, any consent issued is subject to SNH’s policy position on the release of fish out-with their native range and the issue of a licence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act

5 d) Applications to stock rainbow trout into Scottish inland waters.

Introduction of rainbow trout into all but totally enclosed waters will only be approved provided:
All female triploid stock is used.
The introduction is to stillwaters only.
The activity is determined by MS as likely to have minimal detrimental effect on native fish.

The policy regarding triploid rainbow trout will be phased in over the period 1st January 2016 to 1st January 2020. The table below lays out the implementation dates which will apply, depending on the type of water and stocking history

Type of water Stocking history[1] Implementation date Arrangements until implementation date
Open still-waters Not stocked since 2008 1 January 2016 Stocking with fertile (diploid) rainbow trout will continue to be permissible until the stated implementation date, subject to assessment by Marine Scotland Science.
Stocked since 2008 1 January 2020
Stocking history will be determined by introductions recorded and/or consented by Marine Scotland since August 2008.

[1] Diploid rainbow trout

5 e) Introductions of coarse fish and for those species considered to be out-with their native range (with the exception of rainbow trout see paragraph 5 d):

Consent will not be issued for introductions of coarse fish or for species out-with their native range that will lead to their wider distribution in open waters in Scotland.
For introduction to a catchment where there is no existing self-sustaining population of the species but the species are capable of forming self-sustaining populations, only bodies of water that are sufficiently screened to prevent escape of all lifecycle stages of the introduced fish or are isolated from all watercourses and danger of flooding will be eligible to be issued introductions consent.
For species which are not capable of forming self-sustaining populations in Scottish waters, to be eligible for introductions consent, screening must contain all stocked fish and the site must not be liable to flooding.
Consent will not be issued for species that pose a threat to native flora or fauna within the body of water e.g. by predation or habitat modification.
In the event that SNH refuse to licence either the release or keeping of a non-native species an MS licence to introduce fish will not be issued as such a licence would not be competent.
Full details of the policy paper can be found by following the link at the top of this post.

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