Killing wild salmon outside estuary limits prohibited for three years
Killing wild salmon outside estuary limits will be prohibited for three years following regulatory changes announced by the Scottish Government.
Following new regulations, coming into force on 1 April, the killing of Atlantic salmon in inland waters will be managed on an annual basis by categorising fishery districts by their conservation status.
There will be a requirement for a conservation plan irrespective of the conservation status.
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Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod said the regulations were needed to protect Scottish salmon stocks for the future.
She said: “The changes have been subject to extensive consultation and we have listened and made some changes to the district classifications as a result of all the feedback we have received.
“I am confident we now have the right package of measures, including prohibitions on killing out-with estuary limits, inland waters being managed by conservation status and mandatory conservation plans, to ensure wild salmon have a sustainable future in our waters.”
Bernadette Clarke, Marine Conservation Society Good Fish Guide programme manager, welcomed the measures.
“We think prohibiting killing outside estuary limits for three years will help prevent an increase in coastal netting and limit catches of salmon from mixed stocks, ie those fisheries that exploits fish originating from more than one river, and does not therefore discriminate between those populations with robust or healthy numbers and those that are vulnerable,” she said.
“Carcass tagging for net-caught fish, in tandem with a ban on the sale of rod-caught fish, already in effect in England and Wales was designed to reduce the sale of illegally caught fish. The introduction of carcass tagging in Scotland for net caught fish will help reduce illegal or non-licensed fishing and add to the value of tagging within the UK as a whole.
“Scotland has not yet set conservation limits for salmon in Scottish rivers… and we look forward to the development of such references to better determine the status of wild salmon stocks in Scotland.”
Alasdair Laing, chairman of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards, said that because most river systems already have voluntary conservation measures in place there would only need to be modest adjustments to comply with the new regulation.
Meanwhile Alister Jack, chair of the River Annan Trust and District Salmon Fishery Board, said the move is “the right thing to do”.
He said: “What is now important is that we come together as a sector, both angler and netsmen alike, to respond to the challenges that the new measures bring and use the opportunity afforded by the forthcoming consultation on a draft Wild Fisheries Bill, to ensure a prosperous and brighter future for our fisheries.”