FP100: No. 62

Chasing the salmon
Chasing the salmon

Celebrating the salmon

Newburgh’s close association with the salmon-fishing industry is marked with a special sculpture on the shore.

Salmon fishing has been important in Tayside as far back as Pictish times. Net fishing on the Tay started several hundred years ago and, by the mid 1700s, had become a huge business, with exports to several countries.

Trade blossomed further when ice was used to preserve the fish while in transit abroad. The Tay Salmon Fisheries Company was established in 1899 and it became one of the biggest such operations in the country.

Net fishing was a major industry in the area until the 1980s when salmon numbers in the river began to decline. At the same time, the popularity of salmon farming boomed.

An army of summer workers was needed each year and Newburgh had its own boat building and yard.

As the salmon stocks dwindled, so did the pay-rolls. Restrictions on net fishing on the Tay came to the lower reaches in the mid 1990s. The final net was pulled in on August 20, 1996.

Net and coble fishing ceased in 1996 but Newburgh still has its annual coble boat race which began in 1880.