Pacific Pink Salmon Advice Note

There have been several reports of non native Pink Salmon being caught in Scottish rivers including the Oykel. If you catch one of these fish please follow the advice below issued by Fisheries Management Scotland. You do not need to use a tag on a killed Pink Salmon.


Pacific pink salmon, when fresh from the sea, are steel blue to blue-green on their backs, silver on the flanks and white on their bellies. There are large black spots on the backs, upper flanks, adipose fins and tail – some of the spots on the tail can be as large as the fish’s eyes. They are very uniform in size, reaching only 40 to 60cms in length.

Breeding males are immediately identifiable because of their humps and they will almost certainly be running milt at this time of year. Their black tongues and heavily spotted tails are also very obvious. Females will show heavily spotted tails and be pinkish-brown on the flanks.

What should you do if you capture a Pacific salmon?

As above, Pacific pink salmon are usually clearly identifiable from their Atlantic counterparts – particularly when mature and in spawning condition. If you are confident that you have captured a pacific pink salmon, it should be humanely despatched and retained. It would be helpful if captures are reported to the relevant district salmon fishery board and fishery trust. If it is practical to do so, please pass the fish to the relevant personnel at the DSFB or trust for further inspection and analysis.

The full Fisheries Management Scotland advice note can be read here.