• angling;
  • fisheries;
  • hatcheries;
  • recreational catch;
  • Salmo salar ;
  • stocking enhancement


The debate over Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., stocking in Britain centres on the trade-off between enhancing rod fisheries and harming wild populations. This article informs the debate by quantifying the relationship between stocking and angler catch statistics for 62 rivers over 15 years. After controlling for environmental factors affecting adult abundance, the 42 rivers with stocking had non-significantly lower mean catch statistics than the 20 rivers without stocking. This difference increased with the age of stocked fish. Among stocked rivers, weak relationships between mean stocking effort and catch statistics also became more negative with the age of stocked fish. For stocked rivers, there was no evidence for a generally positive relationship between annual stocking efforts and catch statistics. Those rivers for which stocking appeared to improve annual rod catches tended to have lower than expected mean rod catches. The results suggest the damage inflicted on wild salmon populations by stocking is not balanced by detectable benefits to rod fisheries.