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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 15:24 GMT
Global warming affecting salmon
Anglers were out in force on the first day of the Scottish salmon season
Scientists are blaming global warming for a decline in wild salmon on the opening day of the Scottish salmon fishing season.

The season started as usual on the River Tay in Perthshire where there is a campaign to bring back tourists.

Meanwhile, the first minister urged Scots to keep eating Scottish salmon despite the recent safety fears.

And botanist Dr David Bellamy called for closer links between the UK Government and the salmon industry.

'Major changes'

Dick Shelton, of the Atlantic Salmon Trust, said the effect of global warming on salmon population was becoming more and more evident.

He said: "Changes in marine climate is the primary difficulty for salmon and it is a problem on both sides of the Atlantic.

"It's also a problem in the Pacific and there have been major changes even in Antarctic eco-systems."

Dr Bellamy insisted better links are essential in order to deal with the "scare stories" on the health risks of eating too much of the fish.

Where do these scare stories come from and where do they go to?
Dr Bellamy
His comments came as the renowned broadcaster officially opened the new season on the Tay.

Speaking less than a week after the journal Science published US research linking farmed salmon with cancer, Dr Bellamy said he had his doubts whether all the research had been made public.

He added: "Where do these scare stories come from and where do they go to?

"It's about time all the information was put in the public domain.

I really do think what should now happen is that the government should put all the data on the table, alongside the fishermen and the fish farmers, and see what's gone wrong.

"Tourism is still a mainstay of the Scottish economy and you have to get that right. Will they turn round very soon and say that whisky is full of dioxins?"

First Minister Jack McConnell said that the claims in the research were "doubtful at best" and urged Scots to keep eating the salmon.

He said: "The importance of this industry to communities, particularly in the north west of Scotland, should not be under-estimated.

"The quality of the industry has been affirmed by independent agencies and we should back them in what they say."

BBC Scotland's Louise Batchelor
"There's a campaign to improve angling and bring back tourists"

Food safety call over salmon row
14 Jan 04  |  Scotland
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12 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Salmon health scare 'ignored'
12 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Industry defends Scottish salmon
09 Jan 04  |  Scotland

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