THE PRESS AND JOURNAL
Ghillies back killing wild salmon ban proposal
7 Dec 2014
by Tim Pauling
Scottish ghillies have backed a proposal to ban the killing of wild salmon except under licence claiming it will create a “level playing field”.
The measure would effectively amount to a compulsory catch-and-release scheme for anglers.
Under Scottish Government proposals, out for consultation in the new year, the licensing scheme would apply to both anglers and netters. It would be accompanied by a carcass tagging scheme to help enforcement.
Ministers hope the conservation measure could be in place for the 2016 season.
The introduction of a kill licence was a key recommendation of an independent review of wild fisheries published last month.
The voluntary returning of caught fish to the water currently accounts for 80% of fish caught in season.
A spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association – which also represents ghillies and bailiffs – said when river salmon stocks are low you cannot have a situation where anglers voluntarily practice responsible conservation through catch-and-release while netting operations are not similarly bound.
“Not only does that have a negative affect on salmon conservation when there are so many threats already facing wild fish, it also has an effect on anglers who are doing the right thing but are left with little fish to catch and all the knock-on detrimental impacts of that,” he said.
“This consultation is an opportunity to create a better balance between the various fishing interests and the need to conserve low stocks of a fish already protected under the habitats directive.”
The proposal was also welcomed by the Salmon & Trout Association Scotland chairman Hugh Campbell Adamson, who said: “This announcement signals an acknowledgment and confirmation by government that our wild salmon stocks are under considerable pressure and that they need as much protection as possible from indiscriminate killing.”
Environment Minister Aileen McLeod said: “This forthcoming consultation shows we are committed to meeting our obligations on salmon conservation by ensuring that killing by any method is sustainable.”