Tagging implications

As a riparian owner I do not find that catch and release deters fishers, especially if at certain times of year a few fish can be retained. Most fishers feel that the 'freezer filling 'days are over. People talk of going overseas where one is allowed to keep fish.I fish extensively overseas and in most destinations ,especially when  fly fishing,a high degree of catch and release is practised.There is also  a generational change. Most younger fishers do not want to kill all or even part of what they catch.So a catch and release system with a limited carcass tagging kill option seems a fair basis to proceed on, but only in rivers where there is a harvestable surplus. Where that is the case and where  catch and release has been successfully practised, with e.g. 80% released, that can be the basis for that beats tag allowance, based on 80% of their declared returns 5 year average catch .This number could be adjusted according to the trend of runs in that particular river.The precise mechanism for issuing tags and financing/paying for them is a separate subject.

Why the contribution is important

I feel that there is a vociferous minority who e.g in letters to the angling press overemphasise the importance of being able to kill fish in an unrestricted manner distorts the debate. They also exaggerate the mortality rate of relased fish when tagging trials e.g. in Russian rivers prove that survival rates are good to the extent that many salmon get again one or more times in the same season. Finally they claim that people will stop fishing or go elsewhere. Our beat on the North Esk has a stricter catch and release code than many of our neighbours , yet we are more heavily let at comparable or slightly higher prices.So I conclude that most anglers will respect a fair system of catch and release especially if it can be combined with a fair , reasonable and sutainable carcass tagging system.The scientific evidence points to this being a more effecive rout to salmon conservation than resorting to hatcheries.


by henderfisher on July 26, 2015 at 05:18PM

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  • Posted by tweedfisher July 26, 2015 at 18:35

    No one is calling for unrestricted killing of fish. As you say most anglers return 80% of their catch. Local regulations can provide all the protection necessary without the costs and distribution nightmare of an unecessary tagging system.
    There can of course be problems with C&R, if fish are not handled correctly, especially when very fresh. This can lead to fungal disease spreading and killing large numbers like what happened on the North Esk again this season.
  • Posted by abhainn July 26, 2015 at 19:07

    Agree with henderfisher. An excellent post.
  • Posted by RogerDowald July 27, 2015 at 07:19

    Agree - except there may be a question as to whether it's the release rate or the non-release rate that should be the basis for issuing licenses, and also whether these should be on a beat basis (which would penalise those who have done most to show restraint to date) or on a river-system basis. If the system has been releasing, say the 80% example, then the licensed quota might be 20% (adjusted by long-term stock/catch trends - ideally the latter would need to take some account of effort).
  • Posted by scaredforsalmon July 29, 2015 at 12:00

    Surely as has been done for years, an individual permit for a beat has it's rules clearly defined, some have total catch & release, some have a limited kill, they are clear and transparent, the fishermen decide if they can "live" with those rules and either fish there or not. The beat owners don't want to deplete the stocks as that is how they make money. 80% return rate speaks for itself. Why mess with something that works. Sort the more major problems.
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