Discover the Dee


The majority of the catchment population lies within the City of Aberdeen (approximately 220,000 people). Outwith the city, settlements in the catchment are small, and are concentrated around the river and in the lowlands. Between Aboyne and Aberdeen the river flows through mainly agricultural land and human population density increases due to the larger residential centres, such as Aboyne and Banchory.

Drinking Water Supply

The River Dee and its tributaries are a valuable water resource for the populations of Deeside. The catchment’s waters are used for light industry and agriculture, and also receive discharges of effluent. The catchment is faced with growing pressures as local populations increase.


Recent figures show 64% of tourists visiting the Grampian area come from Scotland, and 33% from England. Of the 3% of overseas visitors the majority come from the USA (15%) and Germany (14%).


The natural beauty and characteristics of the catchment are great assets both to the local economy and to public recreational interests.

Water based recreational activities in the catchment include: canoeing, kayaking, rowing, water skiing, swimming, sailing and windsurfing.

Salmon Fishing

The catchment supports one of Scotland’s most important salmon fisheries with its valuable run of large, multi-sea winter and spring running fish. The Dee’s ability to offer first class angling early in the season, long before runs have started on most rivers elsewhere in Scotland, is one of its most important attributes . In 1995 it was estimated that salmon fishing on the River Dee contributed between £5 and £6 million a year to the Grampian Region economy . However, Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board (DDSFB) data indicates that in recent years there has been a decline in the abundance of salmon, especially spring-run fish.