Police hope to net salmon poachers

An operation to prevent salmon poaching in the Borders has been launched.

Lothian Borders Police has joined forces with The River Tweed Commission, Scottish Borders Council and Crimestoppers, to reduce the impact of poaching.

Inspector John Scott from the Safer Communities Team told the Hawick News: “Later in the year, salmon poaching can get quite prolific on the Teviot river.

“Preservation of the stock is critical, but salmon poaching also affects the wider community.

“The organised criminals involved commit other crimes to sustain poaching, such as stealing fuel for vehicles and boats. I would urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to come forward and speak with police or the other agencies involved in salmon conservation.”

Salmon fishing is a major attraction for tourists visiting the Borders and the sport brings in a large number of people to the region.

Poaching is said to seriously damage breeding stocks, as there are just enough fish in the 97-mile long river to sustain the breeding population. Reducing the number of fish could significantly impact on the local economy.

Nick Yonge from The River Tweed Commission explained: “River netsmen and anglers all agree not to kill early running stocks of Salmon in accordance with the Tweed Spring Salmon Conservation rules.”

There is also concern that criminal gangs responsible for salmon poaching are damaging the local wildlife.

Otters and ducks have been found in poachers’ nets, leading to death or serious injury for the animals.

Police Wildlife Crime Officers will join colleagues from partner agencies to monitor the river and deter any criminal activity.

Crimestoppers Scotland National manager, Kate Jackson, said: “You can play your part in helping to tackle this crime by doing the right thing and passing on information to us anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through our secure online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

“We don’t want to know who you are, only what you know.”