Last week the Government launched a consultation on a number of issues regarding fishing for and conservation of salmon stocks. The consultation can be read here. The consultation documents can be downloaded from the menu on the right.
The main measures in the consultation are:
- Proposal that no salmon are killed in Scotland except under licence
- Proposals to specify the type of tackle that can be used, the aim being to minimise accidental damage to fish
- The introduction of carcass tags
- Cost recovery for the licencing system
It is important to note that the consultation does not mean no salmon can be killed in the future rather someone is going to have to establish how many can be killed sustainably. The consultation suggests that proprietors/owners of fisheries should apply for a licence allowing them, or their anglers, to kill a specific number of fish in any particular year. I can see a few interesting issues here; how many fish can be sustainably harvest from any particular river and how will that allocation be divided up between beats, or even between rods and nets? The consultation also states that if the fishery owner doesn’t apply for a licence then that fishery will be catch and release only. In some ways the introduction of licences could be a good thing. The “quota” should be flexible so if runs improve and we have a surfeit of spring fish (!) it is only right that they should be harvested rather than die of disease.
If you have views on the suitability or not of any item of salmon tackle this is your chance to say so. I do have views on this, and I will make them known but if I was a tackle dealer I wouldn’t be stocking up with trebles.
Carcass tagging is probably an essential part of modern salmon management; if policed effectively it will bring a new level of accountability to catch data across all sectors. However, the costs of the scheme will be a tricky one for the government to get right. With their predilection for universal benefits it would be somewhat ironic if only those qualifying for a free bus pass could afford to kill a fish.
Make sure you make your views known by responding to the consulation, it ends on the 30th April 2015 with new legislation in time for the 2016 season.
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Spey Fishery Board
The Scottish Government today announced that they intend to run a consultaiton on enhanced conservation measures for the early spring salmon. The wording in the statement from the Scottish Government is:
Minister announces consultation to protect early-running spring salmon
Options designed to take proactive action to protect the early-running spring salmon that are at particularly low levels across Scotland, will shortly be consulted on by the Scottish Government.
Early today, in response to a written PQ from Rob Gibson MSP, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, announced that he intended to consult on statutory conservation measures, to be effective for commencement in 2015 requiring mandatory catch and release until 1 April, together with a delay in the start of the net fishing season.
The conservation measure would be for an initial 5 year period at which point it would be reviewed.
Mr Wheelhouse said:
‘The Scottish Government places a high value on conservation of our wild Scottish salmon and other wild fish stocks. While I recognise the tremendous contribution that catch and release and the voluntary cessation of netting have had in previous seasons, I think more can be done to provide certainty about the protection of spring stocks. I will therefore consult on statutory measures to replace and enhance the voluntary practices from previous years across Scotland, for a defined period.
“I am very conscious that the Independent Review of Wild Fisheries will report in October 2014. And I will need time to consider the recommendations made, and to consult further on firm policy propositions in due course. However, I have taken the view that the protection of the spring stocks cannot wait for that work to be completed, and I want to make clear our future intentions as regards this specific issue of concern.
“Today’s announcement underlines the commitment of the Scottish Government to managing and protecting Scotland’s fisheries in general, and in this instance, salmon in particular.”
No doubt further details of this consultation will soon be made available.
Spey Fishery Board