Tripartite Working Group

(ceased 31/03/11)

The purpose of the Tripartite Working Group, Chaired by the Scottish Government, is to address problems common to salmon farming and wild salmon fisheries and to seek solutions for ensuring the maintenance of a healthy stock of wild fish whilst at the same time promoting a sustainable aquaculture industry.

The Group was established in 1999 against a background of declining wild salmon stocks and in recognition of the importance of wild fisheries and the aquaculture industry to rural economies. A Report and Concordat were published in July 2000.

Issues faced are how to share common waters in a way which ensures maintenance of healthy wild fish stocks and a sustainable aquaculture industry and how to build trust and consensus.

Introduction to the Region:
The Outer Hebrides region for the Tripartite Working Group covers Lewis, Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra and the catchment areas for the freshwater systems, lochs and rivers which flow into the seas around the Outer Hebrides.

Currently there are 4 Area Management Agreements (AMAs) for the Outer Hebrides; 3 are signed (West Loch Tarbert, East Lewis and Harris and Loch Roag) and there is currently one unsigned AMA (Uist and Barra).

Angling, Fishing and Aquaculture have equally played an important role in the economy of the Outer Hebrides.

The Outer Hebrides have approximately 4000 lochs and 80 catchments which contain salmon, sea trout, brown trout, eels, lamprey and pearl mussels and of these systems there are 24 rivers and lochs with significant importance. There are 3 Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) incorporated around the Outer Hebrides.

Aquaculture has increased in the Outer Hebrides throughout the last 20 years and currently there are about forty marine sites, which range from conventional salmon farming to organic salmon farming.

Special Areas of Conservation (SAC):

There are several SAC in the Outer Hebrides. Loch Roag on the West coast of Lewis is designated for Atlantic Salmon, Lochmaddy, Loch Roag and Loch Eport all have designations for the coastal marine environment.

Lewis & Harris SAC Map

Uist and Barra SAC Map