Mixed stock netting or rods. The way ahead?

So, netsmen will now have to apply for a kill licence , the same as rod fishermen. One assumes that as with rod fishermen, the nets' quota will be based on the previous years' catches. If this is the case we can guarantee 000's more fish will not reach our rivers to spawn. In 2013 net and coble and fixed engine fisheries declared a catch of 24,370 salmon. does this mean that we can be certain that these fisheries will be allocated an equivalent number of tags for the 2016 season? if so, a depressing prospect for the angler, local and visitor alike. Where is the conservation objective in this?

No netsman practises catch and release.

Stocks targeted by individual netsmen are often from different river systems: this makes a travesty of in-river management with spawning targets badly affected. Some rivers are especially seriously affected eg the River South Esk, in Angus.

Anglers in 2013 caught 67,486   surely evidence that anglers have embraced the C and R ethic. it will be observed that C and R among anglers is a growing practice.

In many other ways private beats, angling clubs and associations demonstrate their commitment to conservation: bank maintenance, poaching control, accurate assessment of stock levels, habitat enhancement, stocking are among many practical measures already adopted by local groups with a deep understanding of their own local freshwater environment.

Scotland has received growing criticism from the international community to address its management of its valuable salmon resource: I think it unlikely that these proposals in their present form will change that. 

The attempt to be even-handed between netsmen and rods is a cynical political act, with no basis whatsoever in conservation terms.

The alternative and one which would benefit angling and tourism at a stroke would be to buy out the remaining netting stations. Net fisheries we are told are valued currently at £6m, salmon rod fisheries at £73m per annum. we therefore have in our power to enormously boost our economy through angling-related tourism through massively enhanced numbers of salmon and without a huge overhead cost.  


Why the contribution is important

This part of the proposal may seem fair on first viewing but if conservation is the keystone of the proposals, why should the activities of the conservation-minded anglers be conflated with the destructive practices of the commercial netsmen?

The buying out of mixed stock netting stations would literally put 10's of thousands of fish into our rivers, at a stroke, and while it may be politically sensitive, if conservation is really the purpose behind these proposals there can be no more effective act.

It would boost angling related tourism, at a time when fishermen are beginning to question Scotland as a viable fishing destination.

It would enhance our reputation abroad as a country which takes conservation  to its heart.

It would above all help safeguard our precious resource for future generations to admire and enjoy.


by lesd on July 29, 2015 at 04:43PM

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