New rules to protect Scots wild salmon

Scotland’s environment minister Aileen McLeod has unveiled new measures from April 1 to regulate the killing of wild salmon in Scotland in order to protect stocks.

Among the new measures, killing salmon outwith estuary limits will be banned for three years “due to the mixed stock nature of the fishery and limited data on the composition of the catch.”

The killing of Atlantic salmon in inland waters “will be managed on an annual basis by categorising fishery districts by their conservation status.”

And all fishery districts will be required to have a conservation plan for wild salmon irrespective of their conservation status.

McLeod said: “Our salmon is a valuable and important asset which we must protect and balance conserving stocks with the interests of those who fish for salmon.

“It is absolutely right that we take action now to protect our salmon stocks for the future.

“The changes have been subject to extensive consultation and we have listened and made some changes to the district classifications as a result of all the feedback we have received.

“I am confident we now have the right package of measures, including prohibitions on killing out-with estuary limits, inland waters being managed by conservation status and mandatory conservation plans, to ensure wild salmon have a sustainable future in our waters.”

Alister Jack, chair of the River Annan Trust and District Salmon Fishery Board, welcomed the measures.

“What is now important is that we come together as a sector, both angler and netsmen alike, to respond to the challenges that the new measures bring and use the opportunity afforded by the forthcoming consultation on a draft Wild Fisheries Bill, to ensure a prosperous and brighter future for our fisheries,” said Jack.

Alasdair Laing, chairman of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards, said: “Most river systems already have voluntary conservation measures in place which would need only modest adjustment to comply with the new regulation.

“The conservation status principle will help identify areas where specific management challenges existed while offering the flexibility for improvements to be recognized.”

The new measures cover the whole of Scotland, including the Tweed district.