Professional career Scottish ghillie advice regarding the conservation of wild Scottish salmon stocks and the practice of 'Catch & Release'.
Around 20+ years ago there was a sensible initiative introduced on the Scottish salmon rivers to preserve salmon stocks and to ensure the future appearance of sustainable salmon runs for future generations. This initiative was to adopt a 'Catch & Release' policy with recommendations too regarding the careful handling of salmon. In general, most Scottish salmon river fishery management recommend 'Catch & Release' throughout the full Scottish salmon fishing season as the Scottish law that fully protects wild salmon from being killed by anglers expires at the end of March each year leaving salmon vulnerable to being killed thereafter on rivers that are less focussed on the conservational side of the sport (this is currently under review now that Atlantic salmon have now been catergorized as an endangered species).
As an 'effective' lobbyist for 'Catch & Release' on the River Tay back in 2005 I see the complete sense in making sure as many adult salmon reach the spawning grounds each season as possible as you don't need to be a fishery scientist expert to realise that a dead salmon has no chance of spawning! Back in 2005 the River Dee in Aberdeenshire had already been practicing 'Catch & Release' for over a decade with good salmon stock results starting to re-generate. I personally fished and worked on the Tay through an era where every salmon that was caught was killed but if you apply that practice to any form of wildlife you'll get the same eventual outcome.
Most of the older fishers who coundn't understand or accept 'Catch & Release' when it became normal 20 years ago on most Scottish salmon rivers are now retired from the sport and the younger generation who now fish the Scottish salmon rivers are well versed with this sensible logic-backed conservation policy. Wild Atlantic salmon are just one of the planet's many indicator species and they deserve respect from the anglers as they've got enough to deal with at sea from commercial exploitation plus virus contamination & sea-lice infestation from commercial sea-loch salmon farms (aqua-culture).
At this time while there's no real cohesion, forward lateral thinking or real 'go-getters' within the various fragmented & often confusing management structures of Scotland's finest salmon rivers so 'catch & release' is here to stay. So until there are fixes to coastal sandeel stock exploitation, aquaculture (salmon farms) moving their West (& East!) virus & sea lice spreading sea cages on-shore, in-river and coastal area predation via excessive saw billed duck populations & massively expanded coastal grey & common seal populations, salmon migration route oceanic security (fishery patrol vessels) to guard against commercial expoitation and the natural enhancement of in-river salmon redd quality (spawning gravel) which have certainly been affected by massive large scale commercial forestation hill drainage siltation and the equally destructive salmon redd quality reduction from the long term effects of hydro electricity schemes which have significantly reduced salmon spawning gravel quality (& areas) there won't be a harvestable surplus of wild Atlantic salmon for anglers to retain (kill) salmon.
To learn the most effective Scottish salmon fishing tactics to assist you in personally interviewing one of these fine Atlantean survival specialists and also learn all about the perilous life-cycle of wild Atlantic salmon and many other fascinating components of the wild Atlantic salmon's life cycle book a professional salmon guide on one of Scotland's famous salmon rivers. Due to the generally inept management of the Scottish wild Atlantic salmon asset over the last 40 years it is more important than ever that your salmon fishing tactical approach is perfect to give you the best chance of inspecting a salmon or two in your landing net. The days of turning up with basic equipment levels and little or no salmon fishing skill and expecting to catch salmon are gone.