Is stocking an answer to declining sea trout stocks?

No. There are deep genetic concerns over the impact of stocking on wild salmonids populations, largely through a loss of population ‘fitness.’ Where, after careful consideration of other options, stocking can be justified, it needs to be carried out using the offspring of native broodstock, a procedure known as ‘supportive breeding.’ The period in the hatchery should be as short as possible commensurate with overcoming the natural ‘bottleneck’ in production e.g. loss of spawning habitat.  It is important that rearing is carried out in such a manner so as not to result in inbreeding and loss of genetic variability, or inadvertent selection.