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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
Claims of poor wild salmon season
Salmon leaping
Anglers said the fish are small in number and size
Anglers in Lewis and Harris have been reporting one of their worst ever seasons for wild salmon.

Numbers have fallen dramatically and some observers said they have never known the salmon to be so small.

Former gamekeeper Donald MacDonald said the poor season could be due to a lack of food.

A new deal designed to help protect wild salmon numbers was signed by fish farmers, fisheries boards and trusts in Lewis in August.

We are talking of 1lb in weight and that has never been heard of before
Donald MacDonald
Former gamekeeper

Mr MacDonald said: "It is an extremely bad year not only here but throughout Scotland, I understand."

He said the size of the fish was causing concern.

"We are talking of fish of 1lb in weight and that has never been heard of before.

"The numbers are down as well. It looks to me personally as if it's starvation."

The Lewis initiative covers an area around Loch Roag and is the 15th project of its kind.

However, it was also reported earlier this year that wild salmon numbers in west Highland rivers were increasing due to one of the agreements.

This has seen a huge increase in fish returning to rivers such as the River Lochy where rod catches went up from 35 in 1998 to almost 1,300 last year.

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