FAILED | The publication of the Scottish Government’s “Programme for Government 2020/2021” lays bare the catastrophic failure of Fisheries Management Scotland to successfully take on salmon farming and advocate for wild Scottish salmon and all they represent.In the Programme for Government 2020/2021, a 139-page 62,272-word document, in which there is much to be applauded and a clear focus on the environment and the economy, the word “salmon” only gets mentioned once, in passing.“Our River Basin Management Planning process will continue to make a positive contribution to protecting these valuable water resources, and, through our Water Environment Fund, easing the pressures on migratory fish such as Atlantic salmon.”What of the “twelve pressures” impacting wild salmon? No mention at all. Of the recreational fishing sector? No mention at all. Protecting wild salmon, the ecosystems they inhabit and all they represent for a wider conservation agenda? Nope. Of aquaculture and salmon farming? Well it gets a strong message of support. “This will include supporting the sustainable growth of aquaculture – which provides many jobs in the most remote locations and island communities – by improved regulatory processes, based on the application of available evidence and continued enhancements in the scientific base, to provide more benefit to the communities where aquaculture is based.”In government speak this means better (for the salmon farmers) planning and licensing, as well as some more revenue to communities from salmon farm leases and their charitable giving, to head off the complaints of a few posh blokes moaning about their fishing, who give nothing to the community. (as the wild fish sector continues to allow itself to be portrayed)In the previous PfG (2019/20) there was at least reference to a commitment to deliver on some improved regulation, following intense media scrutiny and two parliamentary inquiries into salmon farming. In the last year under the enforced leadership of Fisheries Management Scotland that momentum has been allowed to evaporate and the Scottish Government let off the hook. Management Scotland is an umbrella organisation for Salmon Fishery Boards across Scotland that liaises with the Scottish Government. Salmon Fishery Boards are government appointed public bodies that manage wild salmon stocks and river catchments across Scotland. The wild fish establishment, embodied by FMS and Fishery Boards, should hang its head in shame. It is delivering nothing for wild Scottish salmon and failing to protect those that rely on them for their living. They have failed to deliver for those that have supported them and allowed them to lead. Despite receiving funds from many thousands who have fished for salmon anywhere in Scotland, the issue of wild salmon isn’t even on the Government’s public agenda. The wild fish sector continues to fail to recognise that a successful argument for the abundance of wild salmon in Scotland is not a scientific one, it is an economic one. Aquaculture receives warm support from the Scottish Government on the basis of employing around 2,000 people in remote coastal communities. Employment associated with the abundance of wild salmon and a healthy inshore marine environment dwarfs that number. Let alone considerations of participation numbers. There is no more culturally cohesive activity than fishing. Cutting across class, age, race and gender and connecting people with their natural surroundings in a positive truly sustainable way. Yet the wild fish establishment has failed to secure any meaningful support for the sector from the government. An establishment dominated by quasi scientists, enthusiastic retirees and far too much tweed has failed to adapt and has failed wild salmon in Scotland. It will continue to do so and is well past its sell by date. It is time for a radical re-think.If FMS cannot protect wild salmon from salmon farming, with the backing of broad public support, what hope for the impacts of other industries of much less public interest?There is perhaps no better example of how the wild fish establishment is failing, than its obsession with its own image and position. Seeking to restrict and restrain successful high profile campaigns that oppose the environmental impacts of open cage salmon farms. Yet, in the last two years a tiny number of campaigners have delivered more negative media coverage of open cage salmon farming in Scotland that in the last fifty years combined. We have made it, and the plight of wild salmon, an issue of national discourse. Meanwhile, the Fishery Boards just about manage to muster a website each. There isn’t another environmental issue in Scotland that has had more coverage in national papers and mainstream TV than that of salmon farming’s destruction of inshore marine ecosystems. The national conversation about wild wild salmon and the government’s talk of a Wild Salmon Strategy, flows solely from that effort. This handful of activists have, against all odds, totally and utterly overwhelmed the public relations machines of the multibillion-dollar salmon farming industry, engaged the public and won broad support for much tighter regulation. Support that we were assured the wild fish establishment would use to protect wild salmon, and the ecosystems they inhabit, from salmon farming. Delivering conservation-based benefits to local coastal communities based on the abundance of wild salmon as an indicator of ecosystem health. These small campaigns have grown to the extent that more people engage with them than that of the Liberals, Greens and Labour combined. Last week engagement on social media was just short of overtaking the Conservatives. That’s been done facing considerable physical risk to secure undercover footage, huge amounts of time invested in investigations and revealing hidden information, legal threats from the agents of global corporations and making enormous personal sacrifices of family time. It has been done with virtually no funding at all.We’ve done our jobs. Where the hell is the wild fish establishment?—————— is a citizen led campaign. Just ordinary folk who are taking responsibility, and committing time, to protect Scotland’s environment for our kids.Find out more about open cage feedlots in Scotland at issf and our join the campaign to tell the global seafood corporations to #cleanuporclearout#ycw2020#healthyliving#salmon#organicsalmon#LeadingTheBlueRevolution#BuyScottish#communityspirit#Scotland#scotlandhighlandsandislands#highlandsandislands#scottishsalmon#tasteofscotland#ScotPfG