Interesting but probably inadequate conservation proposal

The proposal to end all coastal netting for salmon outwith estuary limits is interesting.  However, it would not in itself resolve the problem of exploitation of mixed stocks.  Rather, it could concentrate attention on estuary nets (many of which are not exercised at the moment) and, without controls on the number of fish killed, this could lead to as many, or more, salmon being killed in nets.

Further, it is deeply disturbing that no attention has been paid to conserving the slowly recovering stocks of sea trout.  Netsmen could more assiduously target trout in estuaries, and perhaps in coastal fixed engines as well.  This has implications for non sea-going brown trout stocks as well.

Why the contribution is important

The purpose of the measure should be to create circunstances for better stocks of fish.  This looks like it might do the job at first glance - but closer inspection shows otherwise.

by Craig on July 25, 2015 at 12:43PM

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Comments

  • Posted by Ayrshirecast July 25, 2015 at 13:28

    I agree with Craig's comments and would support the inclusion of sea trout under the new catch and release proposals.
    Limited recovery of sea trout stocks is underway after years of decline, especially here on the west coast. Fortunately all netting rights on the Ayrshire coast have been purchased and will not restart however the east coast nets will inevitably just re focus their efforts on river estuaries and continue the slaughter when anglers, who already return most of their catch are penalised. This isn't true conservation, just moving the goal posts.
    I'd have no problem with a complete (but temporary ban on killing wild salmon for at least one lifecycle) to allow stocks to recover and the situation be reassessed however this would have to include all netting to be credible and gain support.
  • Posted by bradan July 26, 2015 at 08:00

    Ayrshirecast. Where is the evidence that a lifecycle ban (5 yrs?) would lead to a recovery of stocks? Not sure if you mean the nets but if so, I would support that. However I would not support closing rivers, for that would be what would be needed,for rod and line angling. That would kill the sport in many places.
  • Posted by Ayrshirecast July 26, 2015 at 15:16

    In response to braden, there is no evidence that stocks will recover if there is a complete ban on killing wild salmon. (That includes all rod and net caught fish) however with the all the extra fish that would reaching the redds and spawning, it is a reasonable assumption that there would be some recovery in wild stocks.
    I wasn't suggesting closing any rivers to angling but simply a temporary ban on killing salmon until the stocks could be reassessed after a minimum period of one salmon lifecycle.
    This would achieve several things... 1. There would be no need introduce a poorly designed and rushed tagging system. 2.Scottish Government would meet it's EU and NASCO targets. 3. Anglers would feel that the government had taken steps to address the netting issues rather than just moving netting inside estuary limits. 4. A well thought through method of controlling harvests could be designed in the interim period and introduced should control still be felt necessary after stocks improve.
    I've no doubt stopping anglers alone from killing salmon won't lead to recovery as is illustrated in the case of the Dee but including nets may have the desired effect.
    A temporary ban on killing may be unpopular but I do feel anglers would accept this if it were only for the short term. It's just a though, perhaps worthy of consideration.

  • Posted by Euan July 27, 2015 at 13:43

    I'm not convinced that there is a wholesale lack of spawning fish on the redds. Rivers have a certain capacity to support juvenile fish from birth to their migration, and the number of adults required to fully repopulate a river is surprisingly few, however levels of predation are such that the numbers reaching the sea in the first place are only a fraction of what they once were. If the numbers of fish spawning are as much as the river can naturally support, then there is no benefit in increasing numbers. Ensuring the juveniles make it to the sea in the first place would have a far greater effect.
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