In Scotland there has been a petition circulating to have live release of wild Atlantic salmon the law of the land.
Make 'Catch & Release' Mandatory For All Freshwater Atlantic Salmon Fishing In Scotland
Petition by Jock Monteith, Kinnaird, United Kingdom
We believe that the current voluntary ‘catch and release’ approach for wild salmon angling in Scotland does not offer enough protection for Atlantic salmon in Scotland’s rivers and that a mandatory system (enforced by law) would provide a far more effective way of protecting this most iconic fish for future generations.
It is our belief that this view is shared by the majority of salmon anglers who fish Scotland’s rivers, most of whom already accept and adopt the voluntary catch-and-release scheme.
But there are some anglers who still catch and retain salmon and the current system allows this to happen, despite depreciating numbers of wild salmon in our rivers.
We believe that making the release of fish mandatory would be a far more effective way forward for the long-term benefit of this economically valuable and nationally important iconic species.
Between 80,000 to 100,000 salmon are caught annually by anglers in Scotland's rivers. Many of these are returned to the water but around 25 per cent are still being killed. We believe this is simply unacceptable in these times of environmental uncertainty and with the additional current threat of increased commercial coastal netting looming.
It is now crucial that we tighten up the angling rules for the long-term benefit of wild Scottish salmon and ensure that future generations are able to witness the thriving presence of Scotland's most treasured fish.
Our aim is to garner sufficient public support to influence the Scottish Government into making it law that all 'rod & line' caught salmon must be released (& not killed) on the rivers of Scotland.
This would be a major step forward for the future of wild Scottish salmon stocks. Few conservation-minded salmon anglers will have any issue with this proposed policy as they will fully appreciate that increased river salmon stocks will be the reward with a huge positive knock on effect to Scotland's rural economies.
The vast majority of salmon anglers will accept that more sport through increased stock levels far outweighs killing a salmon for personal food consumption purposes especially in this new era of supermarket domination. This logical & long over-due new conservation measure, if supported now, would help to bring back lost revenues, money that is currently being spent abroad because there are not enough fish in our rivers to attract top sports fishermen.
This conservation policy would also act as a catalyst, encouraging other countries across Europe to follow Scotland’s lead. Indeed, we believe that supporting this petition will help to make Scotland a global leader in the conservation of precious wild Atlantic salmon stocks.
Scotland's wild salmon are undoubtedly special creatures and they must be protected to ensure that maximised wild juvenile salmon smolt (sea ready juvenile salmon) migrations occur each year to the sea.
Saving the 20,000 adult salmon each year in Scotland that are currently killed by a minority of salmon anglers will be a highly effective step forward in dramatically increasing our wild salmon stocks for the future.
From an economic perspective the salmon fishing industry in Scotland is estimated to be currently worth in excess of £100 million per annum to the Scottish economy. If we can influence the government to make it law that all rod caught salmon must be released allowing them to go on to reproduce naturally then the increased benefits to Scotland from this initiative alone are potentially huge.
An additional 20,000+ spawning adult salmon per annum over the following five to 15 years, coupled with natural geometric progression, will increase wild salmon stock levels significantly.
Support for this petition will clearly show the Scottish Government that the people of Scotland are very serious about conserving wild salmon stocks which in turn should have a positive impact against the threat of Scottish coastal commercial netting exploitation as wild salmon stocks are hugely more valuable to Scotland's economy when 'alive and pursued' in the Scottish rivers than being 'netted & killed' at sea for low national value commercial gain.
This is an opportunity for effective change for the benefit of Scotland & our Scottish wild Atlantic salmon populations and I'm sure that the majority of future thinking people will understand and accept that for the first time in 200 years our salmon must now become the top priority before our own personal desires to kill them continues to diminish and put at risk this wonderful Scottish natural asset.
Please sign this petition and share it with others to make sure our wild Scottish salmon thrive in the future for the benefit of our wonderful nation Scotland.