Macallan Unveils Salmon Conservation Sculpture

The Macallan Estate has unveiled a new contemporary art installation designed to raise global awareness of salmon conservation.

Created by renowned American artist, Joseph Rossano, in collaboration with glass artists around the world, Salmon School consists of 300 mirrored glass fish, suspended in the air to replicate the movement of a school of wild salmon and designed to highlight the cultural and ecological importance of this species.

The installation is the latest development in The Macallan’s partnership with The Atlantic Salmon Trust, which supports vital conservation work in the River Spey.

The unveiling coincided with the official opening of the River Spey at The Macallan Estate on Saturday 11th February.

Salmon School at the Macallan estate

The Macallan is the only single malt Scotch whisky distillery to have its own fishing ‘beat’, with more than 1.8 miles of river running through the Estate. As custodians of the River Spey and advocates for sustaining the wildlife in and around it, all fishing at The Macallan Estate takes place on a catch-and-release basis.


Having previously been exhibited in both the Pacific and Atlantic shores, where separate salmon species are similarly seeing their numbers decline, Salmon School was first exhibited in the UK for the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021, and was displayed at Balmoral Castle as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The Macallan and The Atlantic Salmon Trust have collaborated on several projects, including the Trust’s Moray Firth Tracking Project. Launched in 2019, this was the largest acoustic tracking programme of its kind to be undertaken in Europe, aiming to discover where and why Atlantic salmon are going missing as they migrate down seven major rivers in the Moray Firth.

The results are currently being analysed and will be announced in spring 2023, however, early results have identified barriers to migration and flow rates as two of the main factors influencing downstream migration success of young salmon.

Elizabeth McMillan, Head of Insight and Sustainability at The Macallan, said:

Salmon School is an art installation of global significance, and we’re proud to host it at The Macallan Estate this spring.

“Through the power of art and community, the installation has brought people together from around the world as we work to find solutions to halt and reverse the global salmon crisis.

“This is the latest milestone in our ongoing work with The Atlantic Salmon Trust. We share a spirit of sustainability and community, working together towards our mutual goal to care for the extraordinary River Spey and its natural surroundings. With awareness and effort, we can restore wild populations to their former glory.”


Mark Bilsby, CEO at The Atlantic Salmon Trust, said:

“The Macallan is one of the key supporters of the Atlantic Salmon Trust and we are immensely proud to be partnered with a brand that has sustainability and the protection of the environment at its core. Their support helps us to not only continue our vital scientific research on the causes for salmon decline and to develop ambitious restoration solutions, but also to help raise awareness of the urgency of the salmon crisis and to help that message reach new audiences. The art installation has the power to deliver that message and we are delighted to have played a part in helping to bring it to The Macallan.

The Macallan Estate

“Speyside is iconic for two things: whisky and salmon. Together, through working with partners such as The Macallan, we can ensure that these two halves of the Speyside soul are secure long into the future.”

Artist Joseph Rossano said: “With its history of supporting environmental conservation and its new landmark distillery on the river Spey, The Macallan is the ideal partner to host a new iteration of the keynote art and science project, Salmon School.

“Sharing an emphasis on the vital importance of cold, clean water, Salmon School and The Macallan are working together to show what ecological recovery for the rivers of Scotland could look like, and helping visitors to The Macallan and viewers of the sculpture to visualize the finality of what is a seemingly endless resource.”

Salmon School can be viewed at The Macallan Estate until 8th May 2023.

The Macallan Estate is open from Thursday to Sunday each week, and all visits must be booked in advance. To make arrangements, please visit the website.

See also: New View of Landscapes in Foreign Lands

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