Minister announces consultation to protect early-running spring salmon
Options designed to take proactive action to protect the early-running spring salmon that are at particularly low levels across Scotland, will shortly be consulted on by the Scottish Government.
Early today, in response to a written PQ from Rob Gibson MSP, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, announced that he intended to consult on statutory conservation measures, to be effective for commencement in 2015 requiring mandatory catch and release until 1 April, together with a delay in the start of the net fishing season.
The conservation measure would be for an initial 5 year period at which point it would be reviewed.
Mr Wheelhouse said:
‘The Scottish Government places a high value on conservation of our wild Scottish salmon and other wild fish stocks. While I recognise the tremendous contribution that catch and release and the voluntary cessation of netting have had in previous seasons, I think more can be done to provide certainty about the protection of spring stocks. I will therefore consult on statutory measures to replace and enhance the voluntary practices from previous years across Scotland, for a defined period.
“I am very conscious that the Independent Review of Wild Fisheries will report in October 2014. And I will need time to consider the recommendations made, and to consult further on firm policy propositions in due course. However, I have taken the view that the protection of the spring stocks cannot wait for that work to be completed, and I want to make clear our future intentions as regards this specific issue of concern.
“Today’s announcement underlines the commitment of the Scottish Government to managing and protecting Scotland’s fisheries in general, and in this instance, salmon in particular.”
The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards welcomes the consultation on statutory conservation measures to protect spring salmon. In January 2014, ASFB highlighted our concerns about the low numbers of returning spring salmon and recommended that no fish should be killed before May 15th. We welcome the recognition of the issue by Scottish Government and we look forward to engaging with the consultation process to develop positive, evidence-based proposals for the protection of spring salmon across Scotland.