Proposed ban on netting of coastal salmon

North Esk salmon leaping
North Esk salmon leaping

Anglers in the Montrose and District area may no longer be able to use coastal salmon netting as the Scottish government could introduce a new licence banning the practise.

Under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003, the Scottish Government is proposing to introduce a licensing system for the killing of wild salmon in Scotland and to prohibit “the taking of salmon outwith inland waters.”

In essence this will mean the end of all coastal netting.

The news has been welcomed by The Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) (S&TA(S), which has been at the forefront of lobbying to end coastal salmon netting in order to protect vulnerable stocks.

Andrew Graham-Stewart, director of S&TA(S), said: “The proposed banning of coastal salmon netting is a milestone – indeed the most significant change to the regulations on the exploitation of salmon in the last 200 years.

“It represents a recognition that salmon numbers have declined markedly in recent decades and an acknowledgment that, as S&TA(S) has consistently emphasized, any exploitation should be limited only to those rivers of origin – where there is evidence of a harvestable surplus.”

Hughie Campbell Adamson, angler on the North Esk, said: “This is really good news for the Angus rivers. We have seen over the past years an increase in netting south of Montrose which coincided with a reduction in the runs of salmon.

“There was a genuine concern that the unremitting killing of more than 5000 salmon each year by the nets was unsustainable and the announcement should safeguard the future of these iconic fish.”