It has been revealed that the number of salmon killed in nets in the South Esk District was considerably more than double that of 2012.
The 2013 summer drought caused very low flows in most rivers and thus salmon were simply unable to access their rivers of origin, according to official Scottish Government figures, forcing them to run the gauntlet of coastal nets for weeks on end.
There are no quotas set for wild salmon and consequently there is no mechanism to limit catches – whatever the strength or weakness of local populations.
The 2013 net catch in the South Esk District of 7,159 salmon with 3,439 in 2012. In contrast, the rod catch dropped to 542 in 2013 from 810 in 2012.
Bill Balfour of the Brechin Angling Club said: “The new figures of catches by the coastal nets south of Montrose make a mockery of any attempts to restore and conserve salmon in the South Esk.
“Allowing such great numbers of salmon to be killed in the local nets is contrary to any measure of sensible salmon management. Scottish Government has a case to answer.
“The South Esk is after all a Special Area of Conservation for salmon and as such it is incumbent on the authorities, not least the Government, to protect it from any over-exploitation.”