Montrose Bay salmon conservation

Salmon and sea trout will no longer be netted at Lauriston.
Salmon and sea trout will no longer be netted at Lauriston.

The Esk District Salmon Fishery Board (EDSFB) has signed a one-year lease for the coastal salmon netting rights on the Angus coast.

They have signed the lease for netting rights at Lauriston, between the north end of Montrose Bay and Johnshaven in a bid to conserve fish stocks.

The nets, owned by Murray McBay, will not be fished in the interests of marine conservation.

The deal has been financed by EDSFB, the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund. In 2014 the Lauriston nets declared a catch of 315 salmon and 126 sea trout.

Mixed stocks coastal netting stations indiscriminately catch any salmon passing by, regardless of where they are heading or the strength of the various populations in their home rivers.

They are completely non-selective, making the management of individual river stocks almost impossible.

Malcolm Taylor, Chairman of EDSFB, said: “The nets at Lauriston are strategically located and are likely to intercept salmon and sea trout destined for rivers in the Esk District, as well as rivers to the north, notably the Dee. Both the EDSFB and the Dee Board have a track record of buying out or leasing netting rights, whenever opportunities occur, in the interests of salmon and sea trout conservation.

“This is particularly important at a time of poor marine survival of salmon – in order to ensure that as many salmon as possible, on their return from their ocean migrations, are able to access their rivers of origin.”

The latest report for the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (www.nasco.int) by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES – www.ices.dk) on North Atlantic salmon stocks (published May 5, 2015) states: “The 2014 catch was the lowest in the time-series and followed the previous lowest in the time-series in 2013. Catches were at or below the previous five- and ten-year averages in the majority of countries, except Sweden, Finland, France, Spain, and Greenland.”

The time series runs from 1960. ICES’ unequivocal advice is that ‘mixed-stock fisheries’, such as those to be found at Lauriston, ‘present particular threats to stock’.