Wild Salmon killing ban being considered
Wednesday 8 October 2014
A ban on the killing of wild salmon except under licence could be introduced as one of a number of measures to manage Scotland's wild fisheries.
The ban is one of 53 wide-ranging recommendations contained in a report commissioned by the Scottish Government.
Other recommendations include the creation of a "multi-species fishery management system" and the creation of a national wild fisheries unit within the government.
Better promotion of angling as a sport, tourism and social activity is also proposed.
Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse said he will consider the contents of the report in depth.
He said: "The Scottish Government is committed to supporting our famous and valuable wild fisheries. Each year angling alone is worth £134 million to the Scottish economy.
"Wild fisheries is a complex area and we have a manifesto commitment to modernise the management structures.
"This independent review was tasked with considering the requirements of a modern, evidence-based management system that is fit for purpose in the 21st century and is guided by the conservation needs of our wild species.
"We need to ensure we have a robust and sustainable system so our fish thrive and people can continue to enjoy wild fishing and the socio-economic benefits that flow from it for generations to come.
"The report is thorough, wide-ranging and contains many recommendations. I will study it in depth and consult on proposals to implement a new management system."
The review was welcomed by the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) and Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS).
The AFSB's policy and planning director Dr Alan Wells said: "ASFB are particularly encouraged by the measures designed to ensure that any exploitation of Atlantic salmon is sustainable.
"We understand that it may be possible to deliver these measures under existing legislation and, therefore, we would urge the Scottish Government to progress these recommendations as soon as possible."
A spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) fishing group said: "The SGA fishing group has called for a quota system to be introduced to urgently conserve dwindling salmon stocks.
"We are pleased the report recognises the implications of unregulated netting activity when salmon stocks are low.
"Rod anglers have shown, through record voluntary uptake of catch and release policies in recent years, that they can fish sustainably and still contribute to a healthy fish stock.
"What the introduction of a science-based licence to kill fish will do is bind everyone to the same principle of sustainable management, whether using a rod or a net, something our members feel has been lacking in recent times. We hope the Government support this recommendation fully."