Postpone the introduction of tagging for rod caught salmon

The decission on whether kill tags are required for rod caught salmon, should be postponed untill the proposed Wild Fisheries Reform of river management is implemented. This should then be decided by each individul FMO, for the rivers they manage. These decissions should be made locally by the people who know  their local river and are best placed to say whether this would be necessary or beneficial to that river.

As rod caught salmon can not be sold, and nowadays, the majority of salmon caught are returned, with only a small proportion kept, there is no logical or conservation need for tagging.

Tagging for net caught salmon which are to be sold should be implemented as soon as possible. This would provide traceability and help to prevent the laundering of illegally caught fish.

Why the contribution is important

Many anglers feel that this proposal is being rushed through far too quickly. If implimented, this proposal will have a very negative impact on many anglers with no real worthwhile conservation benefit to salmon.

Contrary to popular belief, not all salmon anglers are fabulously wealthy. Many salmon anglers are just ordinary working men, who enjoy their sport and who also like to take the ocassional fish home to eat. The proposed tagging scheme, would just be an additional financial burden for many and would could  be viewed as an unecessary tax on anglers.

by tweedfisher on July 24, 2015 at 01:48AM

Current Rating

Average score : 4.4
Based on : 12 votes


  • Posted by sjrobinson July 24, 2015 at 11:37

    Agree 100%
  • Posted by rbsalmo July 24, 2015 at 12:11

    It will be the ruination of many clubs and fisheries around Scotland.Fisheries that ordinary folk have worked on for years to make them affordable and sustainable!
  • Posted by Scottishangler July 24, 2015 at 13:07

    I would agree that the implementation of a carcass tagging scheme for anglers should be delayed in the short term. Indeed I would hope that, after due consideration, the idea would be abandoned. I can see no positive outcome of such a scheme in conservation terms and certainly no social benefit.

    I would also agree that all salmon, commercially caught and offered for sale, should be tagged. This would be a reasonable way to track individual salmon from source to the point of consumption and to provide clear provenance.

    Rod caught salmon, of course, cannot be sold, so there is no reason to tag them for this purpose. Nor is there any rationale in carcass tagging for the purposes of conservation. Voluntary catch and release figures (80% salmon returned in 2013 and growing) show that further controls on anglers are unnecessary.

    The aim of the Wild Fisheries Review was twofold:

    To develop and promote a modern, evidence-based management system for wild fisheries fit for purpose in the 21st century, and capable of responding to the changing environment.

    To manage, conserve and develop our wild fisheries to maximise the sustainable benefit of Scotland’s wild fish resources to the country as a whole and particularly to rural areas.

    If a reformed system of management is to be evidence based, able to respond to a changing environment, then there is no logic in implementing a carcass tagging scheme which will have no positive outcome in terms of the sustainability of Scotland's wild fish resources, particularly in rural areas. Indeed, a carcass tagging scheme with all its bureaucratic complexities and added costs, is very likely to bring fewer anglers to rural areas and further limit the accessibility of salmon fishing to the ordinary working man, by imposing unbearable costs on both the individual angler and on fishing clubs and associations, which operate on very limited budgets.

    If the aim of fisheries reform is to make salmon fishing more accessible to the ordinary person of limited means, then this will be achieved more surely by reducing the cost of fishing, not by imposing unaffordable costs, such as a carcass tagging scheme or a rod licence, on individual anglers. Neither would encourage new entrants into the sport of angling or bring added income to rural areas.

    If the aim of fisheries reform is to protect and conserve our immeasurably valuable wild salmon (and sea trout), there is a much more obvious place to start - by imposing stricter controls, and enforcing current regulations, on the environmentally damaging salmon farms on our west coast.

    On that subject, the deliberate and specific omission of an examination of the effects of salmon farming (probably the major threat to wild salmon and sea trout in Scotland today) has made a nonsense of this whole review process.

  • Posted by marinescotland3 July 24, 2015 at 16:15

    Thank you for your comment. One of the purposes of the week long dialogue is to take on board concerns about timing and impact. The use of carcass tags is to aid compliance. There is of course a separate thread on that topic.
  • Posted by Scottishangler July 24, 2015 at 16:48

    Might we infer from that that kill licences and carcass tagging will be implemented, regardless of anything written on this forum? Is it simply a matter of timing?
  • Posted by marinescotland1 July 27, 2015 at 17:31

    These are very much proposals around current thinking. All the comments posted will be taken on board and considered. Would you agree that if the kill licence proposal was implemented that carcass tagging would be an appropriate mechanism to ensure compliance. If not, how would that work in practice?
  • Posted by garavogue July 27, 2015 at 20:32

    If it is about compliance rather than revenue charge for the fishery kill license but don't add another whammy of charging for the tags as well.
  • Posted by Scottishangler July 28, 2015 at 00:21

    marinescotland1 (Moderator) wrote:

    These are very much proposals around current thinking. All the comments posted will be taken on board and considered. Would you agree that if the kill licence proposal was implemented that carcass tagging would be an appropriate mechanism to ensure compliance. If not, how would that work in practice?


    Current Government thinking regarding game fishing, and how it fits into the larger picture of land reform, public accessibility, conservation and the environment, appears to be somewhat muddled, driven by politicians who, though well meaning, appear to have insufficient knowledge at this time to make informed decisions on a coherent course of action in this area.
    They feel obliged, understandably, to react positively to pressures from the European Union and from international bodies on matters of conservation but lack the scientific wherewithal to steer a confident course of action. Salmon stocks in Scotland, as elsewhere, are under threat from whole host of factors. When at sea, outwith the riverine environment, their survival is affected by climate change, high seas netting, coastal netting, predation by seals, overfishing of prey species etc. Of all the threats to salmon and sea trout survival, the biggest and ugliest to have reared its head over the past few decades has undoubtedly been the growth of salmon farms on the west coast, with their associated lethal plagues of sea lice. Yet a succession of Scottish governments, to their eternal shame, have blindly supported the uncontrolled and unregulated growth of this vile industry at the expense of our once pristine marine environment, our once renowned west highland sea trout fisheries and fragile west highland rural economies, to achieve little other than lining the pockets of foreign owned companies. The threat of salmon farming to stocks of salmon and sea trout needs to be addressed urgently.
    On returning to the river of their birth, our salmon are at risk from a growing population of predatory birds, pollution, water abstraction, winter flooding etc. The very least of the threats our salmon face on their return from the high seas is from anglers. Indeed, anglers are among the most active and enthusiastic guardians of the salmon and its freshwater habitat. At one time, when there was little perception among anglers of risk to future salmon stocks, anglers did take their share of fish for the pot. In recent years, however, an entirely new ethos has developed among salmon and sea trout anglers. Aware now of the need for conservation, a growing majority of salmon anglers in Scotland, as in other countries, now return most, if not all of their fish, to continue on their journey to the spawning redds. The figure of an 80% (and growing) return rate throughout Scotland speaks for itself. This growing voluntary catch and release movement among salmon anglers is reinforced by increasingly conservative recommendations by River Boards, salmon fisheries and angling associations, all well supported by anglers in general. If there is a perceived need to control the numbers of salmon killed by anglers in Scotland today, then this could easily be accomplished by simple directives from the Scottish Executive, passed down through Fishery Boards or their successors. Current legislation allows for this most efficiently. In my view, there is certainly no need for kill licences, carcass tagging, or any other expensive, complicated regulation. If left to the good sense of anglers, the number of salmon killed on Scottish rivers will continue to decline. If a licencing system is introduced, it is likely that numbers killed will decline more slowly. I would urge those responsible for reform to abandon the kill licence proposals. I would particularly question the need for carcass tagging of rod caught salmon. Salmon, and sea trout, caught commercially and offered for sale, are an entirely different matter. They should be licensed and tagged and subject to strict regulation.

    Buoyed by startling electoral success, the Scottish Government is naturally keen to move forward with a wide programme of progressive social reform. I would support any reform which allows fairer, wider public access to all kinds of fishing, including salmon fishing. What I would not support is the creation of greater barriers to potential entrants to the sport of angling, such as a rod licence (unless it actually conveys to the holder the right to fish on river or loch) or the obligation to purchase a kill licence or carcass tags before going fishing. Both of these measures will result in no social or environmental benefit. Indeed, they appear to have been conjured up by people who have little knowledge of fishing (who perhaps do not even fish themselves) and who are driven by an dubious political agenda.

  • Posted by tweedfisher July 28, 2015 at 01:44

    Absolutely spot on Scottishangler
  • Posted by MJS65 July 29, 2015 at 12:29

    I very much liked the idea I read in an earlier thread that tagging should only apply to fish being sold.

    Brings up the idea of delaying tagging of ALL fish killed until such times as we see how tagging of fish being SOLD works out - or doesn't as the case may be.

    It strikes me that the tags on commercially netted fish could be used almost as a quality mark - with some London merchants charging £55/kg for wild Scottish salmon, I think they and their customers can easily afford the cost of a tag or 2. Unlike most regular anglers. I'm also a bit curious as to how many fish sold in the London (etc) markets as 'Wild Scottish' actually are Scottish and wild - could be interesting!

    Otherwise, hard not to agree 100% with Scottishangler (July 28, 2015 at 00:21) - particularly the final paragraph; well meaning/intentioned policy, but lacks practical understanding of the realities and in particular of how it will impact the regular angler (who wasn't born with golden-spoon-in-mouth and triple-barreled surname/titles).
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