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Guide to responding to informal consultation on salmon exploitation

Guide to responding to informal consultation on salmon exploitation

The only net a salmon should see - credit Trout and Salmon
Image credit: Trout and Salmon magazine.

The Environment Agency has recently launched an informal consultation about the exploitation of salmon in England, which will also have implications for fish stocks in Southern Scotland. The consultation is part of the Environment Agency’s Five Point Approach for restoring salmon stocks, in response to the Angling Trust’s Save Our Salmon campaign, which was launched with support from readers of Trout & Salmon magazine. 
We are strongly encouraging all salmon anglers and businesses dependent on salmon fishing for their livelihoods to respond to this consultation to help safeguard Atlantic salmon stocks for the future. We have produced the following guidance to help you do this.

The Angling Trust supports “option 2 for nets and fixed engines” in the consultation, which would lead to new byelaws being introduced in 2018 to remove exploitation by net and fixed engine fisheries on salmon stocks in the following locations and rivers: Christchurch Harbour, Poole Harbour, Exe, Teign, Dart*, Tavy, Tamar, Lynher*, Fowey*, Camel, Taw and Torridge, Ribble, Lune, Kent, Leven and Solway.

The measures to end mixed stock fisheries are particularly welcome as this method of exploitation has often been used by fishermen in Greenland and the Faroe Islands to justify an increase in ‘subsistence’ fishing in the Arctic feeding grounds which damages stocks of Atlantic salmon from all rivers throughout the UK, Europe and North America.  The Angling Trust recommends that anglers and angling businesses support “Proposal NE1 for the North East Coast Net Fishery”, which would prohibit the take of salmon by the North East Coast Net Fishery (both drift and T&J nets) from 2018.

An end to unsustainable netting would be a very substantial benefit to salmon stocks throughout the country, and it is very important that as many individuals and angling businesses such as hotels, tackle shops, ghillies and guides respond to highlight the importance of salmon angling for employment and economic activity.  

For anglers, the imposition of mandatory catch and release everywhere in the country has been averted as a result of pressure from the Angling Trust.  The proposals include an option for voluntary measures which we support (“Proposal 4 – Rod Fisheries”) to be adopted by river associations, angling clubs and fishery owners on a river-by-river basis, along with a number of proposals about use of types of tackle and nets etc.   Please respond with your views about the detail of these proposals to ensure that whatever byelaws are recommended for introduction are appropriate for the way you go salmon fishing and don’t impose unnecessarily on your freedom.

The spring salmon byelaws (which require all rod-caught salmon to be returned before June 16th) are also being reviewed, but we understand that this is just routine and they are very unlikely to change.

Individual responses will have much more influence than standard templates, but we have provided some points below to help you respond.

The deadline for consultation responses is 9th October.
It might be worth making the following points (if possible in your own words) in response to the questions:
  • Mixed-stock netting (catching fish at sea or in estuaries from multiple rivers) should be brought to an end because it is indiscriminate and leads to calls by fishermen in Greenland and the Faroes to increase their catches from the feeding grounds in the Arctic;
  • Anglers already release 79% of the fish we catch.  We have been regulated enough – we want to see tough action to regulate polluters and abstractors that damage the aquatic environment;
  • Angling has far more social and economic benefit for many more people than netting, which only benefits a handful of people;
  • Many anglers also voluntarily donate funds and their own time to support River Trusts and others who use this money to generate substantial additional external funding to restore rivers. Netsmen make no such contributions;
  • If you run a business, please state how much it turns over and how many people it employs;
  • Salmon stocks are in decline across most of England.  Anglers need to see action to address the widespread and endemic problems of agricultural pollution, habitat damage, over-abstraction, fish-farming and unsustainable predation alongside action to manage exploitation by nets and rods.
Please submit your response by 9th October and encourage every other angler who cares about the future of fish and fishing in England to do the same.  

Please also join the Angling Trust if you are not already a member – we can only run successful campaigns (and support the work that Fish Legal does to bring polluters to court) on behalf of anglers with the financial and political support of thousands of anglers, clubs, fisheries and trade members. Join here today.

Thank you for your support

Angling Trust.  August 2017.

Contact: Angling Trust Eastwood House, 6 Rainbow Street, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DQ
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