Catches of wild salmon continue to fall with last year seeing the second lowest numbers since records began in 1952.
Official figures showed that 45,175 fish were hooked by anglers in 2014, down from 67,468 the previous year.
The poor catches set alarm bells ringing, but efforts are underway to try and improve the stocks and protect an important source of income in rural areas.
Last year former Scottish Natural Heritage chairman Andrew Thin put forward 53 recommendations aimed at making the management of Scotland’s prime fishing rivers “fit for purpose in the 21st century”.
A Scottish Government consultation, which includes proposals for all fish to be returned to the water and monly killed under licence, closes on Thursday.
Hughie Campbell Adamson, chairman of the Salmon and Trout Association in Scotland (S&TA), said: “Salmon runs are fickle and clearly conditions can impact on rod catches but it would be irresponsible not to take heed of the significant downturn in the last two years which is mirrored across the north Atlantic.
“The figures underline why Scotland needs to have a robust system in place to ensure that any exploitation is limited to those stocks which have a discernible surplus.
“In this context S&TA supports the principle of a ‘kill licence’ system, as is currently being consulted on by Scottish Government.”
Of the rod catch 37,139 salmon (82 %) were released back into the water by anglers with 8,036 (18 %) killed. The S&TA said the total kept was “dwarfed” by the 17,778 killed by nets.
After the worse year on record sea trout showed a sign of recovery in 2014 with 22,058 caught by angle, up from 15,824 in 2013.
Environment Minister Aileen McLeod said: “We are conscious of the concerns around the long term health of fish stocks which is why we have brought forward statutory conservation measures over the last year and we are currently consulting on a proposed ban on the killing of wild salmon except under licence.
“We recognise that this has been a challenging year for rod fisheries, however it is good news that the proportion of fish returned to the water continues to rise.
“I would encourage all those interested in the future of our salmon stocks to share their views on how we might manage and conserve Scotland’s salmon stocks by responding to our consultation by April 30.”