One of the country’s most prized salmon rivers is worth £24 million to the south of Scotland’s economy, according to a new report.
An economic study of the Tweed found its value to the region has increased by a third over the past decade and is credited with supporting more than 500 jobs.
However, the consultants behind the research warned that the famous waterway’s prospects are “less robust” than they were the last time the Tweed’s worth was analysed in 2006.
The report by economic development firm SQW pointed to continuing uncertainties over fisheries reform and said it was proving challenging to attract younger anglers to the river.
The economic impact study found that although the past few years had been difficult, the Tweed continued to have widespread financial benefits for the Scottish Borders as well as Northumberland.
Fishing on the river and its tributaries contributes around £24m to the economy, according to SQE, up from £17.9m nine years ago. Employment on the river has also risen, up from 490 full time equivalent posts to 513.
The number of rod days let on the river increased over the same period by 6.5 per cent, up from 35,876 to 38,210.
The River Tweed Commission, the cross-Border body responsible for protecting the river which commissioned the research, has channelled research grants totalling £1.3m into the Tweed Foundation to study and manage the waterway over the past decade, with projects including the removal of invasive species which pose a threat to its native fishes.
The commission’s chairman, Douglas Dobie, said: “This report underlines the success and importance of managing the River Tweed on a long-term basis.
“Over the past decade the economic contribution of the activities on the Tweed has continued to grow, as has our scientific understanding of the whole river system. We are unique in Scotland in this regard.
“While we have had a couple of testing years for anglers, this report underscores the increasing importance of the river to the local economies north and south of the Border.”